Tips To Help Kids Overcome Their Fear Of The Dentist

Tips To Help Kids Overcome Their Fear Of The Dentist
Posted on 06/01/2018

As adults, many of us don’t find going to the dentist as the most exhilarating experience, but we recognize that it is important to get our teeth checked up regularly in order to maintain our oral and overall health. Taking our children to the dentist has the same goal with even more significance in order for them to develop healthy teeth and good oral hygiene habits. However, a child may not see it the same way. All they may see is a large, looming chair in an unfamiliar room and hear the whine of a dental drill down the hall, while a stranger pokes around in their mouth with metal instruments. From their perspective, a trip to the dentist can cause plenty of anxiety.

At Alderwood Children’s Dentistry, we are all about putting a smile on your child’s face. In addition to providing quality dental services to give them a brilliant, healthy smile, your child will enjoy our kid-friendly office where they can relax and have fun. Our passionate staff is also ready to help our young patients feel comfortable the moment they step into our office. However, the first steps to helping your child overcome their fear of the dentist starts at home. Continue reading for five important tips that parents should consider.

Start Early With The First Visit

Dentists recommend bringing your child to the dentist as soon as their his/her first tooth appears, which could be anywhere from 6 months old to 1 year. Not only is the first visit important for parents to learn how to take care of their child’s teeth, but establishing trips to the dentist early on in a child’s life can help normalize the experience. At our Lynnwood, WA office, we want to create an environment as close to another home as possible, rather than just an office.

Watch Your Words

Parents can set the seeds for fear even before a child enters a dentist’s office. When preparing for a visit, avoid words like “shot,” “pain,” or “blood” along with extra details about procedures. A toddler doesn’t need to know how a root canal works. On the flip side, parents shouldn’t give false hope by saying, “Everything will be fine.” A positive attitude is more effective in helping your child transition to the dentist office without incorrect expectations. For a bit of fun, experts also recommend playing a “pretend visit” with your child at home. Let your child role-play with a toothbrush to clean the teeth of a stuffed animal or doll.

Be Prepared For Fussing

The whining, pulling away, and tantrums will happen. As a parent, you just have to expect it, and we completely understand. Dr. Clint Worton and his staff have treated plenty of children, and we can help guide you during the visit in different ways to provide comfort. These can include standing at a close but safe distance or holding your child’s hand, even while they are in the chair. 

Avoid Bribing, Offer Encouragement

Bribing your child to go to the dentist is wrong on many levels. For one, it increases their anxiety, as a promise of candy or other treats might make your child think sweets are required to offset the terrible things a dentist might do. Secondly, it also sends the wrong message to your child after hearing the dentist encouraging them to avoid sweet treats. Instead, we encourage parents to praise and affirm their child’s behavior and courage. 

Set An Example

Ultimately, it comes down to the parent to set expectations and an example for their child. A child should understand that visiting a dentist is a necessity, not a choice, for good oral hygiene. They should know that a dentist is there to help take care of his or her teeth in order for them to eat and smile properly for the rest of their lives. A parent should communicate the importance of oral hygiene and act accordingly, which will set an example for their child to follow.

Contact Your Lynwood Kid’s Dentist

We understand how difficult bringing your child to a dentist can be. Our staff is committed to providing the most comfortable and welcoming place for our youngest patients and take some of the weight off their parents. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please feel free to contact us or schedule an appointment at our Lynnwood, WA office!