The fear of the dentist is common among adults. It can start in childhood. As pediatric dental care is incredibly important for your child’s health, you can take steps to make the experience less scary.
- Start them going to the dentist early. As soon as you see a tooth at around one, take them to the dentist. This will also start them having positive experiences so they associate the dentist with good things.
- Don’t go overboard explaining the dental visit. You might create more anxiety if you go into every possible thing that can happen, i.e. get a cavity filled.
- Choose your words wisely. Don’t mention pain, hurt or shots. Let the staff, which has training in what to say, explain things.
- Role play a simulated dental visit. Let them play the parts of dentist and patient but don’t simulate the noise of a drill.
- Don’t tell them about your bad experiences. They may adopt your fear if you have had bad experiences.
- Whining at the dentist’s office is normal. The staff will know what to do — take their lead. They deal with many children every day.
- Bribery is a bad idea. If you offer incentives for not crying, they may expect something to happen that will make hurt. They’re children, not idiots.
- Talk up the importance of good oral hygiene. Practice it yourself.