Ways of Keeping Dental Fears Hidden From Your Kids

Whether due to anxiety, the bright light shining in their eyes, or the looming shadow of a grown-up with shiny instruments, a visit to the dentist can be a fearful experience for a child. Even as grownups, we can have fears about the dentist, pertaining to anything from potential pain to the sight of blood. So, how do you go about calming a child with dental fears when you may have them yourself? You teach them how to face them, and sometimes that involves hiding your own.

If your child sees you exhibiting fearful body language like biting your fingernails when you bring up the dentist, this will do nothing to ease their own fears. Even if you’ve had dental fears since childhood, you can learn ways to calm these fears as you teach your child that the dentist is only there to help them.

Scared little girl covering her mouth by hand while looking at dental tools for oral check-up held by dentist

Begin Dental Visits Early

The earlier in life your child gets acquainted with a pediatric dentist, the more familiar and comfortable they will feel about the need for dental care. Remember to speak in a calming voice on your way to dental visits and be aware of any nervous body language.

Avoid Negative Words

As your child becomes acquainted with their dentist’s office, they will see sharp instruments, hear scary drilling sounds, and experience unfamiliar smells. All of this can be even more unnerving for very young children if they’ve heard you use negative words to describe the dentist, such as ‘pain’ or ‘hurt’.

Do Not Resort to Bribes

Bribing your child to visit the dentist not only denies them the opportunity to face their dental fears, it gives them the wrong impression about the true rewards of going to the dentist, such as a clean, healthy mouth and a sense of accomplishment. Bribes can also reinforce dental visits as daunting and something to be feared.

Learning to face your own dental fears as you teach your child to face theirs can be a challenging experience. Our office is here to help. Contact our office with any questions or concerns you have about ways to acclimate your child to the dentist.