8 Brilliant Tips to Help Kids Overcome Fear of Going to the Dentist


Studies have shown that the two biggest reasons children fear the dentist are because of tooth extraction and anesthesia.  Not all children fear the dentist, but those that do can make good dental health difficult to achieve.  If your child fears the dentist, you may want to take special precautions to avoid the fear of getting out of hand.  Scroll down to discover amazing tips on helping your child overcome their fears. Along with things that you should do before going to the dentist. 

1. Let Them Confront Their Fear

The first step in getting your child to overcome their fear of the dentist is acknowledging the problem.  They need to be honest with themselves so that they can confront the problem. Having them speak with the dentist in a calm and relaxed setting may be helpful. This will allow your child to familiarize themselves with the dentist so that they aren't as afraid during the appointment. 

2. Go with Them

Simply going back into the room with your child may help them get over dental office fears.  Asking your child if they have a preference or person that they feel comfortable with, to go to the dentist, is recommended. Going with a trusted adult who doesn't fear the dentist can be healthy for them to get over their fears. A good role model can be effective, even when your child fears the dentist. 

3. Think of Comfort

One of the best ways to combat dentist fears is to ensure that your child is comfortable. Getting a small pillow can help them feel more comfortable. Sunglasses can also keep light from hurting their eyes.  When talking to your children about the dentist, it is best to avoid negative terms, such as hurt or painful. These words may make them feel uncomfortable and nervous to go. 

4. Use Distraction

Distraction is one of the best methods of getting through a dentist appointment with your child. Listening to music, watching a show, or focusing on something else can take your child's mind off of the fear and anxiety. Having something to focus on can help your child associate the dentist with positive things. If your child enjoys a specific show, try putting it on while at the dentist. This will make them feel more relaxed and give a sense that they aren't in an office. 

5. Shop Around

Just like many other things you put your money towards, you should also shop around when it comes to finding a good dentist. Your child may be uncomfortable with the last doctor they saw, and changing the office may be a quick fix to reducing their fears. One way that you can search for a new children's dentist is by asking for recommendations from family and friends.  It may be helpful to search the area for dentists that specialize in dental anxiety as well. 

6. Help Them Relax

Teaching your child breathing exercises can significantly reduce their anxiety of the dentist.  Fearing the dentist can get out of hand if your child is unable to control their breathing and can't calm down. Practicing breathing techniques can help them calm down when they are in the office chair and can be a good thing for them to focus on. If they are having a difficult time relaxing, try using visualization techniques that allow them to use their imagination. 

7. Teach Them

Many times, when a child is scared of something, it is because they don't fully understand it. Learning as much as they can, can help your child work through even the worst of dental surgeries. You can read more now about these procedures, and explain them to your child.  Dental tools are strange looking and many kids tend to fear the tools. Viewing and learning what each tool does, may help your child understand and not fear the equipment. 

8. Let Them Know They Are Not Alone

If your child is fearing the dentist, showing them that their fears are normal, may help them overcome the problem. Talking to peers or professionals can help your child understand that many people do and have felt this way before. If your child learns that others have gotten through it, they may be encouraged to fight through the fear themself.  Having someone to talk to can help them get negative emotions out and learn new ways to cope. 

Tooth Tips Before Going to the Dentist

Before going to the dentist with your child, there are a few things you should do in the time leading up to the appointment.  Before the appointment, your child should thoroughly brush their teeth and floss. This helps speed things up during their cleaning. It is also important to get to the appointment with time to spare, there is often paperwork to be filled out.  If your child experiences any tooth or gum pain in the months before your appointment, be sure to talk to the dentist about it.

Keep Calm and Let Their Fear Be Gone  

Going to the dentist will no longer be a challenge for your child if you utilize the tips mentioned above.  Comforting your child and teaching them as much as you can about the dentist and tools used can help face their fears. Using mindful breathing techniques can help them cope with fear and anxiety before the appointment and during.  Be sure to check out our blog for more articles on parenting and more, to keep yourself and family happy at home! 

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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