5 tips to help children overcome their fear of dentists

Children tend to have a nagging fear of going to the dentist. However this is not an inborn fear; it’s developed which is why you can prevent and eliminate this fear. Most of the time the fear develops because the child hears negative things about the dentist from friends and family, a bad dentist experience or you may have passed a comment which planted this fear.

Knowing some potential reasons for this fear, it’s now possible to help your child avoid a fear of the dentist using the following tips.

  1. Be careful of what you say- Avoid verbalizing your dental anxieties as this is where most kids develop their fear. So no matter how your dental experience was, avoid making comments and keep all your fears to yourself.
  1. Don’t procrastinate- Anxieties tend to develop with time. It’s better to take your child to the dentist when they are as young as possible, between 1-2 years. They are innocent at this age, and don’t have much of another person’s influence to develop a fear of the dentist.
  1. Avoid sympathizing with their fear- This is not advised as once you sympathize with them, you sort of legitimize their fear for them. This means if your child is already afraid of the dentist, you only make them think about this fear if you keep on discussing their fears with them.

Remember, though you may have had a negative experience with the dentist, your child hasn’t. So don’t plant any seeds of fear but instead work at proving that going to the dentist is a positive experience.

  1. No bribes- Don’t give bribes as today’s children are much more intelligent than yesterday’s child. They know at a young age that the only reason you offer them a reward or bribe is if they are supposed to do something they don’t like in return. So once you offer them a bribe, they have a doubt that something’s fishy about the dentist visit.

It is this thought which eventually builds a fear for the dentist. So instead of offering bribes, it’s better if you discuss the importance of dental health with them and tell them that with good dental habits they end up with a set of sparkling teeth. This pep talk also helps make them interested about taking responsibility of their oral hygiene and excites them about keeping it up.

  1. Make the visit as fun as possible- This is the most important thing you should remember and do to help eradicate your child’s fear of the dentist. Make the dentist visit a fun experience and not something frightening. This is why a good family dentist is a better person as they provide a fun atmosphere for children.

So in a nutshell, you need to work at stopping the development of any dental fear in your child, or at least try to stop any fear that has developed. Emphasize the importance of good oral hygiene and how the dentist keeps cavities at bay and gives a beautiful smile for years to come. This advice and the help of the abovementioned tips will surely help at melting away any fear your child has for a dentist!