How to Help Your Children Overcome a Fear of the Dentist


Going to the dentist is necessary for your child and contributes to his good oral and physical health. However, it’s normal for kids to be scared of dental appointments. Here are a few ways to help them overcome fear.

Reward Compliance

Since going to the dentist is not negotiable, you can try to help your child by rewarding his compliance. Explain your expectations for his behavior and clearly define what reward will be given for meeting the expectations. This works best if you offer your child something, he enjoys that you also find to be beneficial. If you don’t want to offer material items, your child can receive extra screen time or a gift card to an experience he might enjoy. The goal is to help your child look past the fear of the dental appointment and to the prize that waits when it’s over.

Anesthesia Options

Kids are often scared of pain. This is a totally normal reaction and also affects adults. Luckily, anesthesia can often be used for invasive procedures. While a child won’t need anesthesia for a basic dental checkup, it is possible to have it given when there are oral issues that need to be addressed. Having a cavity filled or a tooth pulled call for anesthesia to numb the patient. Anesthesia is also commonly used for root canal treatments. Your child’s dentist should be experienced at administering the right amount of anesthesia for children. It often doesn’t take much to help a child’s mouth feel numb.

Explain the Unknown

Though some kids fear the dentist because of previous bad experiences, many fear dental appointments because of a lack of experience at all. The unknown can be terrifying for anyone, and kids often fill it up with the worst possible scenarios. To help your child overcome a fear of the unknown, tell her what will happen at the appointment in non-threatening terms. You can even ask your dentist or dental hygienist to let your child tour the office before his appointment. If your child wants to know, the person working on his mouth can tell him what will occur before it does, so he won’t be worried about the element of surprise. You can even try role play at home to get your child used to the idea of what the dentist appointment will be like.

It is possible to make your kid’s trip to the dentist a pleasant one. Address the fear and then find ways to combat it.

Here’s another article you might like: Filling in the Gaps: What to Know About Orthodontic Work for Your Kids

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