Scared Of The Dentist? How To Prepare Your Scared Child For A Dental Visit

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Pediatric dental exams are paramount to a child’s health. But what can you do if your son or daughter has an inherent fear of dentists?

This kind of fear may stem from a traumatic experience during a dental visit in the past. Sometimes, though, people are just afraid or disturbed by the idea of someone fiddling around in their mouth with various metal instruments. Can you blame them?

That being said, severe gum disease affects nearly 9 percent of adults, and about 46 percent of adults over 30 years old show signs of early gum disease. This onset of gum issues begins in childhood, when teeth aren’t properly cared for.

So it’s important to get your child into the habit of visiting a dentist regularly, and not allowing their fear to affect their oral health. Here are some ideas to prepare your children for pediatric dental exams without fear.

Talk Positively About The Dental Experience

Have you talked to your child about going to the dentist?

If not yet, try to focus a positive and pleasant conversation about your pediatric or family dentist. Discuss the importance of healthy teeth. Talk about how proud your child will feel to know that he or she has teeth that are shiny and white.
In your talks, don’t do the following:

  • Don’t use scare tactics
  • Don’t talk about your own negative dental experiences as a child.
  • Don’t talk about tooth extractions or root canals

Remember, the objective is to build a positive outlook around going to the dentist. You don’t want to scare your child into complying during the appointment. Instead, your goal is to make sure your child accepts or even embraces his or her time with a pediatric dentist.

Make The Visit Fun

What do all the kids who fear going to the dentist have in common?

Though their fears may center around different issues, none of these children can wrap their minds around the potential of pediatric dental exams being fun.

Blow your child’s mind by making the dentist appointment a good reason to miss school or get out of the house. Bring along a tablet or smartphone for the child to watch during the exam, for instance. Also, bring a coloring book and some crayons to keep busy in the waiting room.

Also, another option is to find a pediatric dental office where fun is always on the agenda. Some dental offices give rewards or care packages to keep kids interested in attending their appointments, etc. Other pediatric dental care facilities have small TV’s or tablets in each exam room so that the child can watch a favorite cartoon while the professional roots around in his or her mouth. 

Choose Pediatric Dentists That Like Kids

This should go without saying, but make sure that your child’s pediatric dentist has a suitable personality. You can’t choose every aspect of your child’s medical care, but you can choose his or her doctor or dentist.

Before setting up an appointment, visit the dentist online or in person. If possible, take a quick tour of the dental practice, or find out if you can ask a few questions before you make the first appointment.

If the dental group does not do prospective patient interviews or tours, book a first appointment as a sort of consultation. Take all of the above steps to prepare your child, and then watch as the dentist interacts with him or her.

If the dentist has a patient, soothing, and kind personality, your child is likely to warm up to them instantly. Rest assured that most pediatric dentists tend to love kids and work well with them as patients. 

Are Your Children Ready For the Dentist?

Now that you understand how to help your child overcome their fear of the dentist, are you ready for your first appointment?

Preventative dental care sets a child up for a lifetime of optimal oral and physical health. Take the above tips into consideration in order to make the first of your many pediatric dental exams a success. 

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