Relieving Your Child’s Dental Anxiety

Published on February 23rd, 2017

Children need the dentist just as much as anybody else—if not even more. Regular visits to the dentist as a child pave the way good oral health habits in the future. However, trips to the dentist aren’t always smooth-sailing when you’ve got little ones. Many children are anxious or afraid of the dentist. Just mentioning the dentist can be enough to set some children off. The good news is that there are ways that you can mitigate your child’s dental anxiety and change the dentist’s office from a scary place to a pleasant experience.

Start Early On

The earlier you start visiting the dentist with your child, the earlier they become accustomed to dental visits. Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to bring your child to the dentist as soon as their first tooth appears—or at least by their first birthday (whichever comes first). When a child goes to the dentist this young, they begin to become familiar with the dentist and feel more comfortable in the office.

Talk About It

You’d be amazed at the difference just talking about the dentist makes with your kids. Making it a casual part of conversations, and make it sound like it’s not that big of a deal. Address your child’s questions and be specific about what is going to happen. The ambiguity of the dentist and the thought of sharp tools going into your child’s mouth can be really scary. If they understand what the dentist is doing and why they are doing it, they’ll be more accepting and less afraid.

Incorporate the Dentist In Play & Learning

Make sure you incorporate the dentist when you are playing and reading. Playing “dentist appointment” with your child helps them reassign the experience of the dentist’s office as fun rather than scary. Also try to incorporate books about the dentist into your bedtime routine. Reading children’s books about visits to the dentist can be a great way to acclimate your child to the dentist’s office.

Lead By Example

Perhaps the best thing you can do to ease your child’s nerves is to lead by example. Practice good oral health habits at home and take them to the dentist when you go for your check up to show them that everything is ok. When they see you at the dentist, calm and collected, and that you walk out unharmed, they will recognize that the dentist isn’t so bad after all.

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