Calming Your Child's Dental Fears: What You Can Do As A Parent

Making a regular trip to the dentist has changed significantly over the last twenty years. When you think about some of the unsavory experiences you may have had as a child, your own anxiety may rise at the thought of simply making your next appointment.

Fortunately for you, and for your kids, dental technology and pain management have been significantly improved, and with regular trips to your dental care professionals, your children may not have to suffer from the same anxieties and fears that you did…..or still do. Here are some simple things you can do to set your child up for a lifetime of dental care success and to quell some of those fears that may already exist:

  • Begin dental hygiene practices early at home. Get your child used to the acts of brushing, flossing, and regularly inspecting teeth and gums for signs of decay. Model good dental hygiene yourself, and allow children to see you caring for your teeth regularly. If this becomes a regular part of their self-care routine, they are less likely to fear dental visits.

  • Talk about what will happen. Read a book about a positive experience at the dentist, about losing a tooth, and get your child excited to go. Tell them that it is not something to be afraid of and that regularly taking care of your teeth will help them to remain healthy and strong when they grow up.

  • Play dentist at home. Prepare your child for the actual visit by “playing dentist” Have your child recline in a chair, and mimic the act of cleaning his/her teeth. Make it casual and fun, and connect your playtime to what will happen when you visit your dental care professionals.

  • Bring items from home. To help ease anxiety on the day of the appointment, have your child choose a favorite toy, stuffed animal, or blanket that they can bring from home. Items of comfort will calm fears and provide some assurance that they have a little control over how their experience will go.

  • Be positive. Regardless of what your past experiences have been like, focus on the positive aspects of receiving regular dental care. Instead of talking about discomfort and pain that you have experienced, discuss how happy you will be when your teeth are clean and cavity free, how beautiful your smile will look, etc.

  • Drop by for a casual visit. Prior to the day of your child’s visit, try dropping by for a casual hello, to schedule an appointment for yourself, or to make a payment on your account. Ask your dentist or dental hygienist to give a tour of their facility, and create a warm and inviting experience for your child when in the office. He will be more excited to go on the day of his actual appointment if he has some idea of what to expect.

  • If needed, see a pediatric dentist. Not only do pediatric dentists specialize in dental care for young ones, but they also provide all sorts of incentives for visiting their offices. With the use of innovative technologies, videos, and even toys for “good patients,” children will be enthralled by this kid-friendly, fun environment where they can play and get a good cleaning as well.

Setting your child up for success by modeling good habits, making regular visits to your dentist, and remaining positive and proactive about the whole experience will, over time, reduce and possibly eliminate any fears that may exist about dental care. Who knows? This extra attention on setting up successful habits for your child may just quell any residual fears that you have as well.

Your Partner For Dental Care Success

Dr. Gordon Krueger, DDS, MS, PA is an expert with almost 30 years of success in comfortably treating patients of all ages and all types of dental care needs. He and his staff are committed to treating you and all members of your family in a way that inspires confidence in our care. Trust us to manage your individual needs with integrity and excellence. Visit today to create a quality dental experience for you and your whole family.

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