Looking for ways to ease your child’s fears about going to the dentist?
Maybe you’re preparing for your child’s first visit or have a long history of trying to get your kids into the office with no tears.
You’re not the only parent facing this situation! In fact, studies show that 16% of school-age children are afraid of the dentist.
Read on for a few of the best ways to ease dental anxiety in children!
1. Dentist Visits at an Early Age
The best way to ensure that your kids are not scared to go to the dentist is to prevent the problem from the start!
By starting your children with regular dental visits from an early age, your child will form habits.
If you plan your child’s first visit at a young age, they will recognize the pattern that visiting the dentist is “normal” and safe!
2. Be Careful with Your Words
Kids can react negatively to certain word choices, especially if they’ve had scary experiences with a dentist or doctor in the past.
Try to avoid words like “shot”, “pain”, or “hurt” when talking about the dentist.
The staff will sometimes use special vocabulary to make sure children feel safe.
3. Play Pretend
Kids love to play pretend and love spending time with mom and dad!
Take advantage of that quality time to stage a pretend trip to the dentist.
With a toothbrush in hand and you as the dentist, you can count your child’s teeth and clean their teeth.
Show them a dental mirror and how a dentist will look at their teeth. You can even have your child role-play as a dentist with a favorite stuffed animal.
4. Avoid Taking Them To The Adult Dentist
While it might be tempting to bring your kids along to your own dentist appointment, it’s best to avoid it if they’re dealing with dentist anxiety.
A sterile environment and maybe even some discomfort on your part can upset little ones.
A pediatric dentist will have an office that’s geared towards kids, often with video games, TVs, music, and kid-friendly decor.
5. Talk About Teeth!
Consider picking up a picture book that shows your kids what a trip to the dentist looks like.
You might be able to find a book that includes your child’s favorite cartoon character like Spongebob or Dora the Explorer visiting the dentist.
Talk to your kids about the importance of having healthy and clean teeth so that they can eat their favorite foods.
Keep it simple, fun, and at their level!
6. Don’t Bribe
Last but not least, don’t undermine the work of the dentist and bribe your child with dental anxiety with sweets and treats.
Doing so will only set a bad precedent for appointments and poor dental hygiene down the line!
Stop Dental Anxiety in Children in Its Tracks!
Whether you’re a new parent or just don’t want to see your kids upset at the dentist, take these 6 tips into account to help ease dental anxiety in children!
Have you helped your child overcome their fears of the dentist? Let us know in the comments what worked!
Still have questions about how to get your kids started with dental care? Ready to schedule an appointment? Contact us and we’ll be happy to help!
Dr. Perez has been in the private practice of Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics for almost 30 years. He has been educated in top universities around the world, receiving training in the United States, Spain and Mexico. He is currently a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Dr. Perez is fluent in both Spanish and English.