Four Things Parents Can Do to Make Children Less Afraid of the Dentist

Going to the dentist is hardly what most would consider ‘fun’. However, for both kids and adults, it is a necessary part of ensuring we are able to stay healthy and happy. Although it’s easy for adults, children can sometimes become fearful of visiting the dentist, especially if they are very young. But, with more than 40% of children already having cavities by the time they enter kindergarten, helping them get over this fear is essential.

Most dentists who specialize in kids pediatric dentistry will be used to apprehensive and scared children, and they will know how best to help alleviate their fears. However, not all dentists have this focus, and as such it’s important to locate pediatric dentists in your area who are best trained for working with kids.

While finding childrens dentists is an important step, before taking your child in for their appointment, there are some things you can do to help make the experience more pleasant and far less scary. To help give you an idea of what parents can do, here are four things to keep in mind.

  1. Get Them Excited : First and foremost it is important to ensure that they have a positive mental attitude when it comes to going to the dentist. Always talk positively about dentists and your own experiences. Try to seem as upbeat and as positive as you can. This can help show your child that there is nothing to be afraid of. Additionally, since many who practice kids pediatric dentistry have their offices designed with kids in mind, it could be worth mentioning the games they can play in the waiting room, to help make it seem like a fun place to be!
  2. Tour the Office Beforehand: Another way to help alleviate stress or fear is to schedule a tour before your first appointment. Because those who specialize in kids pediatric dentistry undergo additional training in child development and psychology, having your child meet their new dentist beforehand can help put them at ease. The dentist will know what to say to help remove any fears that they have and can show them firsthand that there is nothing to be afraid of!
  3. Read Book and Watch Videos: Reading books or watching videos aimed at explaining the dentist for kids can also help remove a lot of their fear. A majority of the time, kids will be scared because they don’t understand everything that a dentist does. Reading books or watching their favorite characters go to the dentist can help show them what the process is like, and that it’s a normal part of life.
  4. Bring a Comforting Item Along: If your child has a favorite toy or stuffed animal, have them bring it along to their first visit. Having something comforting with them can also help alleviate any stress or anxiety. If you forget the toy or don’t have a favorite on hand, many kids pediatric dentistry offices have stuffed animals on hand for just such an occasion. Overall, having something soft to hold on to can help put your child more at ease.

The dentist’s office doesn’t have to be a scary place for kids. If your child is fearful or anxious, consider implementing some of these suggestions before heading in. Not only can it make them feel better about going, but it can set them up for more enjoyable visits as they get older. Many adults have their own fears about going to the dentist, but as parents, you can help remove this obstacle so that even decades down the road, they will feel more secure.