6 Tips to Help Your Child Overcome Their Fear of Dentists

Few people enjoy going to the dentist and there are good reasons for that. First, the tools used by these people are frightening. Second, almost all procedures cause pain, even if the doctor uses anesthetic. No wonder kids are afraid of dentists! But parents need to help their kids overcome their fear and understand that going to the doctor is not a torture, but a healthy habit.

The sooner the better

Take your child to the dentist as early as possible. This will help them get used to the doctor and will show them the regular check-ups are part of life. The more times they go to the dentist for a check, the more confidence they will gain in their doctor.

Don’t give too many explanations

Before going to the dentist explain your child where are you going and why, but don’t give too many explanations. Dr. John Habib, specialist in pediatric dentistry, advises parents to be positive on every visit, as this will boost the child’s confidence and will reduce anxiety. Avoid telling them the doctor won’t do anything, as this might end up being a lie, if they do need a procedure.

Let the pros deal with it

Don’t tell your child anything about shots, pain or other unpleasant things which might happen at the dentist. Most pediatric dentists have their own words for these, so let them take care of it. You can tell your child the doctor is going to look for germs and remove them from their teeth, so they stay healthy and clean. Such phrases make the entire visit seem like something positive, valuable for their health – which is the entire point of going to regular check-ups in the first place.

Explain what will happen

Before you take your child to the dentist for the first time, explain them what will happen. You can even role play and show them how the dentist will use a tiny mirror to look at the teeth. Don’t mention tools which might scare the child: the toothbrush and the mirror are enough to help them understand what will happen. You can encourage the child to “examine” their toys, pretending they are the dentist.

Don’t bring them to your appointments

There is a reason why some dentists specialized in pediatrics, so don’t bring your child to an adult doctor. They will feel your anxiety and they might become scared, especially if they see you in pain. Pediatric dentists have kid-friendly offices and know how to deal with kids of all ages.

Some opposition is to be expected

All kids will be a little stubborn at the thought of being examined by a stranger, so on their first visit to the dentist they will whine. The staffs are used to these “complaints”, so don’t try to force the child to stay still. When they calm down, they will cooperate.