Tips to Overcome Fear of the Dentist

Taking your child to the dentist can be stressful for both you and them due to dental fear. However, it doesn’t have to be that way if you follow a few simple tips. Your child may see the dentist’s office as a scary place right now, but you can change all that and make things easier for yourself at the same time. Here are the top tips to overcoming dental fear in children.

A Positive Attitude

It may seem simple, but a positive attitude when talking about the dentist can make a major difference in the way that your child perceives dental visits. When you tell your child that they’re going to the dentist soon, speak in an upbeat manner. Don’t give too many details about what will happen at the dentist’s office, as this is only likely to make your child more anxious. It’s especially important that you avoid talking about your own dental experiences if they were difficult. Cheerful and upbeat talk is key. Speak about a visit to the dentist much like you’d talk about a shopping trip, a visit to relatives, or any other routine life event. This will help your child to see the dentist as just another part of life and help them to develop a “that’s no big deal” approach. If you try to bring up the dental visit every day or two up until the actual day of the appointment, your child will be well prepared and quite accepting of what’s to come.

Provide Comfort Through Distraction

Talk to the dentist before your child’s next dental visit if they have a lot of anxiety or fear about dental visits. It may be possible for you to accompany your child during the visit, which allows you to provide distraction while the dentist works on your child. Take along a book, toy, or other object that your child finds comforting and bring it out as they start to get anxious or fussy in the dental chair. Talk in soothing tones, telling a story or making lighthearted or even humorous comments to help your child get their mind off what’s going on in the dentist’s chair. Parents and dentists can work as a team to help keep kids both distracted and comfortable during their dental visits.

A Fun Book About the Dentist

A children’s book about the dentist can be a great way to prepare for your child’s dental visit when they’re anxious. There are a number of fun kid’s books that focus on topics like a first dental visit, teeth cleaning, filling cavities, good dental hygiene, and other topics that kids can really relate to. By seeing charming fictional characters going through the same things that they are, your child will start to relax and will realize that they can handle this. Read the book frequently in the days and weeks leading up to the visit to help your child accept the dentist as a normal part of their life.

Playacting: Dental Visits at Home

Playacting is often a favorite activity for any child, and you can take advantage of this when it comes to helping them overcome dental fears. Arrange a “dentist’s chair” at home and pretend that you’re the dentist. Invite your child into the chair, ask them to say “ahhh,” discuss checking for cavities, and talk about things like cleaning the teeth and performing dental care. Make positive comments about how well your child has been caring for their teeth and tell them that you appreciate their grown up behavior during the “exam.” Give your child a reward for their good behavior, for example a sticker or a small non-food treat. You might also want to mention that the next visit to the dentist (the real dentist!) are likely to yield fun new things like a new toothbrush.

Do You Need a New Pediatric Dentist?

Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida is ready to help if you’re looking for a caring, compassionate and highly experienced pediatric dentist for your child. Call us anytime to arrange a dental care visit, necessary dental procedure, or a check-up.