How To Ease A Child’s Fear Of Going To The Dentist

By: Adrian Cruce

While there were so many efforts made to improve this reputation that dental work is very painful, parents still oftentimes do not know about the fact that things changed. They usually revert to their own fears and unwillingly transmit that to the child.

The great news is that nowadays it is so much less intimidating and a whole lot less painful to go to the dentist than, let’s say, 30 years ago. Even so, there are still kids that fear dentists. This fear starts at an early age and it is important for the parent to help with nipping this fear before it becomes really serious.

In order to ease the child’s fear of going to the dentist, make sure that you take into account the important tips mentioned below.

Start As Early As Possible

One thing that you might not know is that parents are recommended to stimulate the gums of their babies when they are infants so that they get used to having the mouth and teeth touched. You can do this with the use of sterile warm washcloths, massaging gums, and wiping gums.

You can also brush the teeth of toddlers with the use of infant toothbrushes. This is important as it gets the child used to the sensation. When oral hygiene starts early, there is a much lower possibility that dental visits become scary.

Get Yourself Ready

Kids are very good at picking up cues from their parents. This is why it is so common to see parents give children anxiety simply because they have anxiety. The child depends on the parent for practically everything. That is why you should not stress out when it is time to visit the dentist for the first time. You do not want to get into details and be too specific.

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Try to keep everything as positive and as simple as possible. At the same time, make sure you do not tell the child that everything is going to be fine. What happens if the child needs treatment? If you told them that nothing bad will happen or that they will not fear pain and this is exactly what happens, they will end up feeling let down. As a result, that fear can appear and be amplified.

What you have to do is talk to the child. When specific treatment is necessary, talk about how future events like that can be prevented. This is especially the case when problems like tooth decay or cavities are found. Even tooth sensitivity can be prevented to some degree.

Avoid All Negative Talk

The child might express concern about going to the dentist. According to experienced dentists, when this happens, you have to talk about it and you should never be the first one to mention things like “hurt” or “pain”. Basically, do not say negative words. It is the dentist that should introduce the child to most of the dental vocabulary as this is just more productive.

Instead of being focused on the words that have a negative connotation, try to focus on terms like “strong” or “clean”. Do not lie to the child but make sure that you put a positive thing on everything.

Organize A Dry Run

Talk to the pediatric dentist and do a dry run. This is practically a tour of the dentist’s office. This is done before the first checkup. A huge advantage of the dry run is that stress is greatly reduced and many of the fears are addressed with zero possibility that something bad will happen.

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The first tour can be very informative and a lot of fun. The dentist is experienced in a way that is not at all scary and we all know how important first times are. The child becomes acquainted with the doctor and the staff. The office becomes familiar and when the real appointment actually happens, the child knows what to expect.

Get Ready For Negative Reactions

You have to be ready for negative reactions. By knowing how to properly deal with fussing when at the dentist, you make the experience a whole lot better. When you are not ready, you end up developing your very own anxieties that will make everything wrong.

Remember that it is normal for a child to whine or cry during, before, and after the dental visit. DO not punish them for having negative feelings. This only enforces the initial fears. Talk with the pediatric dentists and ask for advice. They know how to handle children because they have been dealing with them for years. When tantrums happen, you need to be ready to deal with everything in a calm way.