Five Ways to Relieve Your Child’s Anxiety At The Dentist


By Karleia Steiner


A visit to the dentist doesn’t need to be synonymous with a visit to see the boogeyman. The fear that comes with dental visits is a learned one. If practiced while children are young, dental visits can be as cool as the mint mouthwash at the end of a cleaning. Listed below are five ways to relieve your child’s anxiety at the dentist.

1. Dental Hygiene Habits

As soon as a child receives their first tooth, make a big deal about it. Celebrate it as a milestone that marks their growth. Allow them to take a picture and proudly smile to show it off. While the excitement lingers, stress the importance of taking good care of the teeth. A child should own (and use) their special toothbrush, toothpaste and floss. Make it an unavoidable part of their daily routine. This will help oral health be viewed as a priority and a joy!


2. Regular Visits

As often as recommended by the dentist, make regular visits a priority. The more a child visits the dentist, the more they’ll get used to the environment and the anxiety will eventually dissipate.


3. Conversation 

A child will naturally ask questions about a visit to the dentist. Keep the conversation as positive and upbeat as possible. It’s important not to lie to a child but don’t use words that might scare them out of the chair like needle, drill, or bloody mess.


4. Choice of Dentist

Do personal due diligence and find a dentist that will cater to the needs and sensitivities of a child. Not all dentists know how to be kind and pleasant to little clients. Sometimes, dental visits for children might arrive with the infamous meltdown. Dentists with good bedside manor like Dr. Bryan Murrayare expectant of these situations from children and are well-equipped to handle them. Selecting the perfect dentist can literally make or break the situation so choose wisely.


5. Special Event

When it’s time to visit the dentist, make it a special event the child learns to be excited about. Create an itinerary for the day so that the dentist is just a stop in between other fun places like the zoo and the child’s favorite restaurant. With such a fun-filled day, it’s hard to make the dentist seem like a chore or an unwanted place to visit!


While these tactics can help relieve a child’s anxiety about a visit to the dentist, keep in mind that things may go south just because children are creatures of unexpected behavior. One minute, they might be excited. After sitting in the chair for a while, they might get frustrated. As the parent, be supportive, loving and compliant with what the dentist requests so that the experience can be a smooth as possible for everyone involved!


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