When Fear Is A Factor: Easing Your Child's Fear Of The Dentist

23 February 2016
 Categories: Dentist, Blog


Most children are afraid of the dentist at some point in their lives, but most of the time they aren't even sure why. It's important for your child to have good oral health, and getting them to the dentist when they are young is essential. While your child may not need a dental cleaning the first time they go to the dentist, getting them familiar with the routine of going to the dentist will make it easier for you and your child in the future.

Stay Calm 

Many parents get nervous about taking their child to the dentist, and children can feel this anxiety. Even if you are nervous, take some time to calm yourself down before you bring your child into the dentist's office. The more relaxed you can be about the experience, the more relaxed your child will be.

Don't Expect Much from the First Visit

Once you get your child into the dentist, don't have high expectations. If your child simply sits on your lap and stares at the dentist, you are making progress. While you may want your child to open up their mouth and have their teeth examined, it isn't going to ease any fear to force them into anything. If your child allows it, have the dentist count their teeth and check their mouth over. If they don't get a cleaning, save it for the next visit.

Praise Your Child for Their Bravery

Praise will get you far when you bring your child to the dentist. While it may not seem like a big deal when your child spends five minutes getting their teeth checked, positive reinforcement will help your child. Praise your child for their efforts so that the next time they go to the dentist, they are more likely to cooperate in order to receive similar praise.

Explain What is Going on In Basic Terms

Some anxiety can be relieved by explaining each step at the office as it is about to happen. While you don't want to overwhelm them, stating, "now the dentist is counting your teeth", "you're almost done", etc., will help keep your child calm.

Listen to Your Child

If your child is freaking out at the dentist's office, listen to what they are telling you. If they can't calm down, they are telling you that the experience is overwhelming to them. Consider a dental office that will use sedation dentistry on children if their anxiety is too much to overcome.