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How to Help a Frightened Child Get Over their Fear of the Dentist

June 12, 2019
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Dental anxiety is a prevalent concern that can lead to patients avoiding dentist appointments. According to a study, the fear is particularly strong among 10–15 year old children. Not getting timely dental treatment results in worsening of the problem, that later develops into tooth and gum disease. The CDC reports that children with poor oral health miss school more and get lower grades compared to those who don’t. So how can you ease children into visiting a dentist?

A Pre-Appointment Meeting

Children are scared of the idea of a dentist; they’re afraid of someone using sharp instruments to dig holes in their teeth. But you can help them get over that fear by arranging a pre-appointment meeting with the dentist. This meeting will serve as an opportunity for your kid to get comfortable with the dentist and the staff. A good dentist will use this meeting as a chance to build a rapport with the patient, thus making the child comfortable in the overwhelming environment.

Careful With Your Language

Be careful with the language you use when talking about dentists. If you use negative words like “pain” and “hurt”, you’ll probably scare your child away. But if you use positive words like “healthy” and “clean”, it’ll relax your kid and motivate them to see the dentist. Also use kid-friendly terms that don’t sound too scary; for example, use sugar bugs instead of cavities. The idea is to set the stage for a positive and good experience instead of an anxious and scared one.

A Pretend Visit

Invisalign blog imageTo help ease your child’s fear, host a few pretend visits to the dentist. The more often you do this, the more used to your child will get. This will mentally prepare them for the upcoming appointment. During the pretend visit, do things like counting your child’s teeth, and holding up a mirror to give them an idea on how a dentist checks the teeth. Word of caution; don’t stimulate drilling sounds or any noises that can potentially scare your child.

Positive Reinforcement

Reward your kid with something they like after the dentist appointment. For example, take them to an amusement park as a reward for being brave at the dentist’s. Positive reinforcement is all about associating a certain act with something good, thus affecting one’s association about the act altogether. If your child feels good after a dentist appointment, they’re more likely to respond better to their next dental visit.
The most reliable way to make your kid feel at ease is by getting them the best children dentistry services. At Image Dental & Orthodontics in Las Vegas, we have a team of highly experienced dentists who’ll make sure your child has the most comfortable experience. Get your child’s teeth checked and book your appointment today!

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