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8 Ways to Help Ease Your Child’s Fear of the Dentist

Dentist. Just saying that word and reading that word brings up a lot of anxiety for people. Even for grown adults who have been visiting dentists their whole lives, or avoiding them their whole lives. I don’t know what it is about the profession that makes many people afraid (myself included), but I do know it’s quite common.

When it comes to our kids, being afraid of the dentist can be a difficult thing. We want to teach them the importance of oral care and want their experiences with the dentist to be easier than ours, but sometimes their anxiety and fear gets in the way. I know my kids are always anxious before their appointment, and it’s hard as a parent to watch.

If your child struggles with anxiety and fears about dental visits, they’re not alone. In a study published in the Eurpoean Journal of Dentistry in 2011, titled “Children’s Perception of Their Dentists“, out of the 583 children in the study, 11% didn’t like their visit to the dentist, and 12% stated that they were afraid — that’s a big number so you can see it’s quite common.

Here are some simple tips on how to help ease the fear your child has of the dentist that will make the process easier on all of you:


  • Easing Your Child’s Fear of the Dentist 1 of 9
    Easing Your Child's Fear of the Dentist
    Keeping in mind that being afraid of the dentist and unknown things is normal, there are ways you can help ease your child's fears.
  • Find a Dentist Who’s Good With Kids 2 of 9
    Find a Dentist Who's Good With Kids
    A good dentist really goes a long way when it comes to dental fears. Find someone through recommendations who is good with kids. Usually pediatric dentists are great with kids and have great offices set up.
  • Explain Often the Importance of Oral Health 3 of 9
    Explain Often the Importance of Oral Health
    Have regular conversations about why it's important to brush and floss and visit the dentist. Talk regularly, because then it won't seem so out of the norm to take care of your teeth.
  • Meet and Greet Time 4 of 9
    Meet and Greet Time
    Before your child goes in for their first appointment, have a meet and greet first. Take your child to the office to see the place, meet the dentist and try out the chair before any procedures are done.
  • Make Regular Dental Visits 5 of 9
    Make Regular Dental Visits
    The more regularly they visit (every 6 months), the less afraid they will be because it will become less unknown.
  • Explain in Terms They Understand 6 of 9
    Explain in Terms They Understand
    Let your child know what to expect, but in terms they understand. Tell them, or ask the dentist to tell them, what they're doing and what to expect so they won't be so afraid.
  • Don’t Share Your Own Fears 7 of 9
    Don't Share Your Own Fears
    I personally am not a fan of the dentist, never have been, but I am careful never to share that with my kids. If you do, it could very well make them more afraid and stressed.
  • Tell Your Child’s Dentist 8 of 9
    Tell Your Child's Dentist
    If your child is feeling anxious or afraid, let the dentist know. They may be able to help ease their fear and treat them with a little more care.
  • Avoid Scary Words 9 of 9
    Avoid Scary Words
    Kids and scary words don't really get along well. Avoid using words like "hurt" or "freezing" or "shot" with your kids if you think it could make them more anxious.

Photo credits: Photostock

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