Healthy Dental Tips Blog

10 Ways to Ease Your Child’s Fear of the Dentist

Posted by Therese Vannier, RDA/OMSA on Feb 7, 2017 10:34:00 AM

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Dental visits are necessary to keep teeth in tip-top condition, but a trip to the dentist can be scary for a kid. The unfamiliar environment can deplete him of all his hit points in a matter of seconds. About 9% of children are afraid of the dentist. Fortunately, there are ways to get your little darling past the fear factor and to the nice friend who just so happens to fix teeth. 

The American Dental Association has designated February as National Children’s Dental Health Month. With a few positive reinforcements, your champ will feel non-threatened on his dental-venture. Here’s what you can do to help your favorite honor roll student feel more relaxed.

Communicate

Discuss your child’s fears with the dentist. Be as precise as possible. Some children are afraid of needles while others are afraid of having their space invaded by strangers.

Choose wise words

Refrain from using words like ‘hurt,’ ‘pain,’ or ‘shot.’ Trained dental staff will most likely have their own kid-friendly vocabulary. Use words like ‘comfortable’ and ‘healthy.’

Easy does it

Keep a positive attitude and try not to provide too many details or answer questions you don’t have answers to.

Play dentist

Count your tyke’s teeth with a toothbrush and use a small flashlight to shine light so you can take a peek inside. Then gently pull the cheek away to take a better look. Let the patient watch you with a mirror.

Make it fun

Seat your child in a recliner and let them know when you are going to dip it backwards into the rocket ship position. Talk about the benefits of a healthy mouth. After they feel comfortable in a reclined position, tell them you’re going to move it back up.

Explore

Arrange to have your child meet the dentist and staff before the actual visit so he can see that there’s nothing to fear.

See a pedodontist

Pediatric dentists are skilled in the ways of the wee ones. They use smaller instruments and usually have kid-friendly offices with fun decorative themes, movies and games. They are also outfitted to work with kids who have special needs.

See a laser dentist

Laser dentists are the leaders in their fields. They use tiny beams of light instead of traditional drills for a quieter, ouchless, more comfortable dental experience.

Don’t make promises

Refrain from bribery. Promising a treat or reward will only increase their apprehension. 

Copy cat

Talk about how awesome your teeth look and feel after a dental cleaning. Make a point to brush and floss daily so your child can copy your oral hygiene habits.

At the end of every dental visit, complement your child for good behavior and bravery. Explain that dental visits are necessary and that the dentist helps keep teeth strong.

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