Cobblestone Park Family Dental

Overcoming Dental Fears: Kids Edition

Kid smiling in a dentist chair

Taking a child to the dentist can be a scary, new environment for them, but is necessary for their oral health. Dental phobia/anxiety is perfectly normal, with almost 20 percent of school age children experiencing fear of taking a trip to the dentist. We’re here to help your child’s first visit be a positive experience and to reinforce good oral habits within them for the rest of their lives.

So what can parents do to make their child’s dental visit go more smoothly?

Start young

It’s best to start as soon as your child’s first tooth is visible according to the American Dental Association (ADA). This enables your child to become comfortable with the dentist office environment and helps with easier visits later on in their life. Dentists will become a part of their regular healthcare routine and help them become accustomed to these good habits, setting them up for a lifetime of good oral health and best practices. 

Tell your child in advance that they need to visit the dentist 

If your child is older, waiting until the last moment to tell them, or even not telling them at all can worsen their anxiety. Telling them in advance can help give your child time to mentally prepare for the appointment. Try to make time to talk with them and answer some of the questions they may have about the dentist.

Explain the importance of oral hygiene

Teaching your child the importance of oral health and dental visits is crucial to their well-being. Explaining how strong teeth helps them eat their food, smile and live a healthy life in general is helpful in encouraging dentist visits. Remind them that visiting the dentist is a necessity, not a choice. 

Use positive language

When describing the dentist to your child, try to avoid words like, “pain” or “hurt,” these words can increase their unease and fear. Instead, try to use words such as “clean, strong, healthy teeth” and similar positive language to reinforce a good experience. 

Have a pretend visit beforehand.

Let your imagination run free! Having this fun experience, that simultaneously educates your child, can help reduce fears when the actual appointment day comes. Making a pretend visit a good experience can help to create positive results later on. You can do this by holding up a mirror to simulate a dentist’s check up routine, having your child count their own teeth, or simulating teeth brushing on a stuffed animal.

Explain the importance of oral hygiene

Teaching your child the importance of oral health and dental visits is crucial to their well-being. Emphasizing how strong teeth help them to eat their food, smile and live a long, healthy life in general is helpful in encouraging dentist visits. 

Stay cool, calm, and collected

Don’t be alarmed at any frustrations coming from your child. It’s normal for them to cry and get anxious with strangers in a new environment.  Allowing our skilled team to ease their worries and provide comfort will establish trust that is important for future appointments.

Cobblestone Park Family Dentistry is here to help

We understand more than anyone how much children do not like the dentist, and we’ve experienced everything from mild to moderate to severe. While it may be frustrating, we are here to help parents through the process of getting their  children the dental care they need. Remember, starting these practices early on helps with developing a child prepared for all of their dentist appointments, big or small. Contact Cobblestone Park Family Dentistry today to schedule an appointment for your child today!

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