Is your child afraid of the dentist? As a parent, you can do a lot to help ease your child’s fear of the dentist.
Helping your child feel comfortable starts with simply talking, or rather, listening. Spend the time needed to draw out your child through relaxed, calm conversation so you can identify exactly
After listening, knowing how to respond can be tricky, so we’ve provided seven helpful tips!
How to ease your child’s fear of the dentist:
- Set an example. How do you feel about going to the dentist? Stay positive and happy as you talk about it with your child and within the family. The truth is, if you’re not careful, your little one can detect anxiety and fears you may have. Make sure to start this at a very young age.
- Keep it simple. In truth, you’re probably not that experienced in describing dental procedures to children. So when your child asks you about it, make sure you answer him or her, but keep it very simple and positive. Leave the details to the professionals, as they’ll know how to explain things well to your child according to his or her age.
- Maintain trust. Don’t give your child false expectations. If you say, “Nothing’s going to happen,” and he or she ends up getting a filling, that is very much SOMETHING. You can easily see what this could do to his or her trust, in both you and the dentist.
- Make it natural. If your child sees that you go to the dentist and that his or her friends go to the dentist, it will seem like a normal and non-threatening part of life. Use books and videos (like the video below) to show how normal it is.
- Focus on happiness. Continually stress the benefits of good dental routines, including visiting the dentist. Show how healthy teeth keep you happy, both now and when you grow up. Help your child understand this isn’t a choice, but something that is necessary for everyone who wants to keep eating the yummy things that taste soooo good!
- Avoid “ouch” words. When you mention the dentist and treatments, try not to use words like “hurt,” “pain,” “needle,” “shot,” “drill,” etc. Instead, explain what will happen by describing the outcome in kid-friendly terms. For example, you can use phrases like, “The nice dentist is going to check your teeth,” or perhaps you can say, “Now he’s going to count your teeth,” or even, “He’s going to clean the sugar bugs off your teeth.”
- Don’t offer bribes. Kids are smart, and they know a bribe when they see it. When you prepare them by promising a reward, it may be just the thing that starts them down the path of fear and anxiety. Instead, compliment your child on his or her bravery and behavior after the visit.
Tools to make your child’s dental visit fun!
Books and videos can be helpful in calming any fears or anxieties your child may be experiencing. Spend a bit of time and view this video together. Try exploring other age-appropriate videos on YouTube that will help your child relax.
How have you helped your child feel comfortable when visiting the dentist? Join the conversation below!
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.