First Dentist Visit

6 Ways To Help Your Child Overcome The Fear Of Going to the Dentist

Is your child feeling a bit anxious about coming to the dentist? Going to the dentist can be scary for everybody, and children can be more especially reluctant. Fear not! Here are some tips to help your child feel more relaxed during his or her dental checkup.

1.   Start Early

Children may feel scared visiting a new place, especially if it’s a clinic. The earlier your child visits our office, the better. Doing this will make your child feel comfortable with the surroundings and our staff.

We always strive to provide a fun environment for children where they can feel most comfortable. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that the first visit should be at age one or when the first baby teeth appear, whichever comes first.

2.   Be Careful With Your Words

When scheduling an appointment and preparing for your visit, try to not overwhelm your child with unnecessary details. As a parent, you want to make sure that your child is comfortable coming to the dentist. Too many details may trigger some nervousness.

Consider bringing a toy and always maintain an upbeat and positive attitude. Keeping things light and fun will ensure that your child is happy and attentive, which is crucial for us to educate your children about oral hygiene.

3.   Consider Doing a Mock Visit

Before your child’s appointment, consider role-playing with them. The strategy here is to get them acquainted with the routine and to help them to become prepared and relaxed when it’s time for the actual visit. All you need is a toothbrush!

4.   Emphasize The Importance of Good Oral Hygiene

Stress the importance of practicing good oral health and reiterate to your child that his or her visit to the dentist is necessary. Explain that the dentist will keep their teeth strong and healthy, making their smile even more beautiful than it is now!

Try setting up a daily routine for them and outline the steps in an easy way. Education is crucial when it comes to oral health, and getting your child into the habit of great oral hygiene early on is critical.

5.   Avoid any Treats or Bribes

We do not recommend promising your child a special gift or treat if they behave well at the clinic. Giving your child treats can add to their nervousness since they may only behave for the reward and consider the visit a test of sorts. Give your child positive reinforcement, and let them know how great a job they did when the check-up is complete.

6.   Prepare For Some Fuss

It’s normal for children to cry when they feel nervous, and this can often occur at the dentist’s office. When this happens, try to calm your child down and reassure them that they are in good hands and that they are safe.

Our dentists might ask you to hold your child’s hand to help them relax. Our staff has vast experience with any type of situation and we are experts at making sure our patients feel as relaxed as possible.

At Westside Pediatric Dental Group we have highly trained staff that is focused on your child’s dental health. For us, maintaining your child’s oral hygiene is a priority and a passion. Contact our office today for more information!

11 Comments

  1. Wow these are awesome tips. Our daughter is getting to the age when she will soon need to visit the dentist. Playing pretend is an excellent idea. I know she would love to play that and I know that it would help her a ton. Also, Asking the dentist to avoid those kinds of words like shot, hurt, and pain would be helpful as well.

  2. My daughter needs to go to the dentist, and she gets anxiety. I like what you suggested about being careful with your words. It makes sense that any negative words could make her feel more scared, so I will make sure to talk about the dentist in a positive way.

  3. If I mention the dentist my kids will literally run to cover. They have never had a good experience, which I think is because they always have cavities. Maybe if I helped them realize that if they brush more it’ll be a better experience. However, I think you’re right I should be careful with my words.

  4. I had not thought of bringing a toy or game for my kid when they went to the dentist. I could bring their electronic thing, that way they don’t move but can still be distracted. Thank you for the awesome tip!

  5. These are great tips for helping children with a fear of the dentist that I think are generally applicable to other areas of child-rearing as well. Starting early is a great bit of advice but I realized that I need to be much more careful with my words in a dentistry scenario. Preparing for fuss is a great tip to consider as well before and after a dental procedure.

  6. I agree that you should start early. My brother took his daughter when she was a little older, and she had a fit. I really liked what you said about avoiding treats or bribes. I’ve learned a little about behavioral in school, and it’s true that you don’t want them to behave, just for a reward. I think it’s a common thing people do too. Thanks for the info.

  7. I really like the tips for helping kids not be afraid of the dentist. I understand that the dentist can be a scary place, and preparing them is smart. I think that getting them started early is a good thing, it eases them in, and therefore there are more likely to not be scared.

  8. My son is afraid of everything, especially going to the dentist, and so I really hope that these six ways will help me to decrease the amount of fuss that he has during his future appointments. In the past, I usually bribe him to be good and sometimes that works. However, I have never relied on positive reinforcement alone and so I just might try that.

  9. Great trick to play pretend dentist before the first visit. That sounds like the perfect way to get your child used to the overall procedure and hopefully excited to visit the dentist! Thanks for sharing.

  10. I totally agree with the suggestion to start early. My parents took me in to the dentist early and often and by the time I was old enough to know what was going on I was already used to it. Your child can definitely benefit from dentist visits being and feeling routine and nothing to worry about.

  11. A great way to prepare kids for the dentist is to play dentist! just by getting them used to the scenario and allowing them to take on the role of a dentist is a great way to show them it’s nothing to be afraid of.

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