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How To Help Your Child Overcome Fear of the Dentist

The dentist can be a scary place, especially for kids. And while many children may hate going to the dentist, there are many things you can do to help your little one overcome their fear! We know you may not like the dentist either, but when you help your child overcome their fear of the dentist, you can make their appointment much easier for everyone. Not only will your kiddo feel more comfortable, but you will be able to avoid having to fight them to get them through the door.

At Thornton Kids Dentistry, we work hard to create a comfortable, friendly, and welcoming environment for our little patients. Our goal is to make their experience at the dentist easy and fun! When you walk into our dental clinic, you and your child will be greeted with smiling faces and friendly staff. Our waiting room is full of toys and games that your child can engage with while they wait for their appointment. But the best part is our pirate ship playhouse! Your kiddos will be stoked to play and pretend to be a pirate every time they visit the dentist.

While we hate to admit it, we know that nobody is a fan of the dentist, but our job is necessary to keep your kid’s teeth and smile healthy, happy, and beautiful! We work hard to ensure that your child feels comfortable throughout their entire appointment and offer a variety of services to help keep their mouth healthy. But there are many things that you, their parent, can do as well! Read on to learn some tips for helping your kiddo overcome their fear of the dentist and contact Thornton Kids Dentistry today to schedule an appointment.

Start Young

You should start taking your kiddo to the dentist when their first tooth appears or when they turn one, whichever comes first. By ensuring that you start bringing your child to the dentist at a young age, you can help them become more used to their dental visits and feel more comfortable with them every time they go. When you start young and make sure that dental visits are regular, it will simply become a part of their healthcare routine, similar to going to the doctors for a checkup. It won’t be a new and scary thing that they have to do when they are four years old.

Schedule a Visit

Before your child’s appointment, try to make time to schedule a visit. This is a great way for your child to get familiar with the dentist's office, meet the staff and the dentist, and feel more comfortable with the entire experience. Even if you just show up for their appointment a little earlier than usual so they can just hang out and play in the waiting room can allow them to de-stress and feel calmer when the time comes for their appointment.

Don’t Scare Them

While we know you won’t intentionally scare your child, you may unintentionally do so when you describe the dentist. Try to avoid words like “shot,” “pain,” or anything else that may make them nervous about their dental appointment. If they ask what their appointment will be like, just tell them that the dentist is going to make sure their teeth are strong and healthy.

Stay Calm

It is very likely that your child will cry, fidget, whine, and fuss during their dental appointment. Instead of getting worked up and trying to make them stay calm, you need to try and stay calm yourself. If you are in the waiting room and your kiddo starts to show fear or throw a tantrum, try to remain calm to show them that everything is going to be fine. Pediatric dentists are used to working with nervous and fussy kids, so we will be able to handle your child and will give you some guidance on what we think is best for them. But we suggest not getting worked up when your kid gets worked up, it will just lead them to get even more nervous.

Don’t Make It Seem Like a Big Deal

Whether it is your child’s first dental appointment or they have been going to the dentist for years, don’t make it a big deal. When you make it a bigger deal than it is, your child will sense this and start getting more nervous than they need to be. Instead, just mention that they have a dentist appointment to them like you would tell them what you are having for dinner. By making it a nonchalant thing, you can help them think that it's not a big deal and keep them calmer.

Make It Fun

Make the dentist seem fun! While we already help with our pirate ship playhouse, you can help hype us up. Read children's books about the dentist to them leading up to their appointment. Tell your child that the dentist just wants to count their teeth. Tell that each of their teeth has its own job and the dentist needs to make sure that they are doing that job right. Anything that seems silly and fun to your kiddo will help lessen their fear.

Talk About Good Oral Hygiene

While kids will be kids and likely not care about having good oral hygiene, the more you talk about dental hygiene, the more it will become ingrained in your kid’s routines and habits. When you let them know that taking care of their teeth at a young age can help ensure their teeth are healthy and strong when they are adults, you help them realize why going to the dentist is important. Again, kids will likely not care if their teeth are healthy in their adult years, but when they understand why the dentist is important, it can help them get over their fears a little bit more.

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Choose The Right Pediatric Dentist

One easy way to help your kiddo overcome their fear of the dentist is to ensure you choose the right one. By choosing a pediatric dentist, rather than just bringing them to your dentist, your child will be taken care of by a dentist who specializes in kids' dentistry and has additional years of education to become a pediatric dentist. Plus, pediatric dental clinics have the fun games and toys in the waiting room! At Thornton Kids Dentistry, we also have TVs about each of our patients’ chairs so that your child can watch their favorite cartoons while getting their teeth worked on.

We work hard to ensure that our dental office is fun, welcoming, inviting, and comfortable for you and your child. By following these tips, and choosing Thornton Kids Dentistry, you can help your child overcome their fear of the dentist! Contact us today to get your questions answered and schedule an appointment today!