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What To Avoid When Talking to Children About The Dentist

What To Avoid When Talking to Children About The Dentist

There’s a lot of advice out there about talking to children about visiting the dentist. But today, we’re here to tell you what you shouldn't to say!

Visiting the dentist can be pretty intimidating for children at first. Although our office environment here at Smile Town Burnaby has been designed to make kids feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible, it still isn't always easy.

Think of it this way: it’s a new environment, with lots of new people, and your child is experiencing many unfamiliar things. And for children who aren't yet accustomed to dental care, having their mouths and teeth examined can feel invasive or oppressive.

To make this experience easier on your child, prepare him or her ahead of time with an honest, quiet discussion about what to expect.

However, there are some common pitfalls parents experience when embarking on this type of discussion, and we’re here to help you avoid them!

When you talk to your child about the dentist, try to avoid the following:

Scary words

Words like ‘shot’ 'drill’, or ‘needle’ should to be avoided, as your child might find them alarming. Our team will introduce a special kid-friendly vocabulary to children when they visits, to help them get through the scary stuff.

This brings us to our next point. You should also avoid...

Being specific

Detailed, step-by-step descriptions of the dental cleaning and examination will only make children try to imagine what will happen, which might be confusing or scary.

You might also end up being asked questions that could force you to use some of the scary words above.

So keep it simple.Tell children that during a dental appointment, the dentist will examine their smiles, and count their teeth. That’s it!

Talking about your own negative experiences

Telling your child about your own scary, uncomfortable, or painful dental experiences in an effort to ‘relate’ to his or her worries and fears will only make those worries and fears worse.

You can learn more about how to be a good oral health care influence here.


Like going into detail about things you know will happen, do your best to avoid speculating about what could happen if you child needs a filling, if you child needs an orthodontic or dental appliance, what the fluoride treatment will taste like, how long the cleaning will take, etc., etc,. Speculation of this sort will only result in unnecessary worrying and fretting.


It may seem like a good idea to promise a treat for good behaviour at the dentist’s office, but this may actually increase your child’s apprehension.

If you say, ‘if you’re good and don’t cry, you’ll get something special afterwards,’ your child may start to wonder about why he might want to cry or misbehave during the appointment.

If you need some more guidance about talking to your child about visiting the dentist, contact Smile Town Burnaby today. We can help!

Download the FREE SmileTown Kids' Activity Booklet.

A great resource to help get your kids ready – and excited – to visit the dentist.

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