Does Your Child Dread the Dentist? 5 Tips to Ease Your Kid’s Fear

Help your child get over his fear of the dentist!

A trip to the dentist doesn’t have to end in tears! Try our tips to help your child overcome his fear of the dentist.

Fear is a basic survival mechanism that everyone is born with. It is what we are afraid of that is absorbed from the environment around us. If you have a crippling fear of the dentist, you may be unconsciously teaching your child to fear the dentist too. Trips to the dentist may include crying and you might think the only way to fix the problem is to skip your kid’s dental appointments.

Think again!

Avoiding the dentist is not the right way to help children overcome their fear. In fact, avoiding the dentist can make their fear worse and skipping out on regular visits can cause a minor problem to turn into a major problem that requires major (sometimes painful) work. However, if you can find a dentist, no matter where they’re situated, that can rightfully refer to themselves as, as you’d say in Norway, your child should have absolutely nothing to worry about. If your child suffers from dental phobia, here are a few tips to help make your next trip to the dentist a pleasant one:

  1. Visit the dentist by age 1 – If you have dentophobia and are worried that you might pass that on to your baby, remember to take him/her for the first dental visit by age 1. An early introduction to the dentist will reinforce a lifelong commitment to oral health and ease fears as children get older.
  2. Communicate – Talk to your child about the dentist visit. Ask what he liked, what he didn’t like and answer any questions he has. A discussion with the dentist after the appointment may make your child more comfortable.
  3. Familiarize your child with the environment – Take your child for a visit to the dentist when you don’t have an appointment. Set up an hour or two for your child to watch the dentist and other kids receiving treatment. Watching calmer kids might help ease your child’s fear. A good dentist for children will have no problem scheduling in these little visits, as they will want you, and your child to be as comfortable as possible.
  4. Use the right language – Avoid using phrases like “don’t be afraid” and “stay calm” or words like “shot” and “pain.” Even if used in a positive context, these words can instill fear in your child.
  5. Avoid bribery– If you offer a reward for a visit to the dentist, it could make your kiddo think that something bad must be waiting at the dentist’s office, especially if you offer something not normally allowed. A better idea is to praise your child after the appointment for good behavior. An “I went to the dentist” sticker will never hurt either.

Visiting the dentist is a task that needs to be performed two times a year, forever. An early introduction to the dentist will only help your child maintain beautiful, healthy teeth later in life.

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4 Responses to “Does Your Child Dread the Dentist? 5 Tips to Ease Your Kid’s Fear”

  1. Penelope Smith
    11/12/2018 at 10:02 pm #

    My nephew is really scared of going to the dentist. I liked that you pointed out that it would be smart to try to get him familiar with the dentist office the dentist. It might be smart for my sister to find a dentist that is really good with kids.

  2. Ellie Davis
    07/05/2019 at 1:43 pm #

    I was not aware that taking your children to the dentist since they are babies will help to ease their anxiety. My husband and I were thinking of what to do when our 18 months old baby needs to go to the dentist. Thanks to your, article we will contact a dentist for him as soon as possible to avoid any problems in the future.

    • Ryan Boulding →
      07/08/2019 at 9:06 am #

      We’re glad this blog helped you, Ellie. Familiarity at a young age can really help.


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