How to Ease Your Child’s Fears About the Dentist

Some of us have been there: knowing we have an upcoming trip to the dentist, and not exactly looking forward to it. If you still have unpleasant feelings about going to the dentist, imagine how it might feel to be a kid with an appointment coming up. For many kids — both young and old — going to the dentist can be a terrifying, anxiety-ridden experience. While there are even many adults who don’t eagerly anticipate their trips to the dentist, if a child doesn’t know what to expect before their first visit, they could begin to associate the dental experience with fear and unexpected surprises.

That’s why it’s so essential for parents to do what they can to ease their child’s mind about going to the dentist. In addition to any questions children might have about what exactly a dentist does, parents can tell their kids that their dentist counts their teeth to see how many new ones have come in, or how many are loose. They can also tell their kids that the dentist will want to brush their teeth, in order to give them a good cleaning and ensure they remain healthy for the tooth fairy. While the dentist should never be a painful experience, parents can also reassure their kids that they can always speak up and tell the dentist if any of their tools might be hurting them or causing them discomfort.

Yet sometimes, a parent’s best efforts to calm their child’s anxieties about the dentist aren’t enough. It’s important to note that all dentists have been trained to take care of both adults and children, however, many kids in particular will benefit from seeing a specialized pediatric dentist. Pediatric dentists have 2-3 years more training with patients who are children, so they have developed ample tips and tricks that will make their young patients visits go as smoothly as possible. For example, at Growing Smiles, the office’s waiting room is a fun space designed especially for children — so they feel that the dentist is a friendly, welcoming place and won’t be scared of returning for future visits.

Of course, despite a friendly pediatric dentist or welcoming office environment, there are some whose fears of the dentist persist. Growing Smiles also provides a number of sedation options for those who have a lingering fear of the dentist — all of which are completely safe for children. At Growing Smiles, your child can receive nitrous oxide, oral sedation, deep sedation or a general anesthetic based on their level of fear, and what type of dental work they require. All of these options are used in a professional and safe manner to ensure that the experience at the dental office is a positive one. Talk to your dentist ahead of your next appointment to find a method that is suitable for your child and ensure that their experiences with dental offices are calm and positive.