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What to Do if Your Child is Afraid of the Dentist

What to Do if Your Child is Afraid of the Dentist

For some children, visiting the dentist can be particularly frightening. Here are a few things that you can do to help reduce your child's dental anxiety. 

Our team at Smile Town understands that going to the dentist can be frightening for some children, that's why we have created a friendly and cheerful office environment to help reduce your child's anxiety. Our goal is to provide each of our young patients with a positive, stress-free, dental experience every time they visit.  

That said, there are a number of things that parents can do before arriving at our office, to help put their child at ease. 

Start Young

Bringing your child to the dentist when they are very young helps to make the experience feel normal. Your child will have an opportunity to get to know the team and become familiar with the office and what's happens when they visit the dentist.

We recommend that you bring your child in for their first visit within 6 months of their first tooth erupting, or just before their first birthday. By visiting us from a young age, your child will become comfortable with our child-friendly office and our team of dental professionals. This will also give the dentist an opportunity to spot any oral health issues in the early stages before they become more serious.

Prepare Your Child Ahead of Time

Casually chat with your child about their upcoming dental appointment. There's no need to go into detail, just keep it simple. Mention that the dentist is going to check their smile and count their teeth. Avoid any words that may increase your child's anxiety such as 'pain' or 'needle', instead use positive words and phrases such as 'healthy smile' and 'clean teeth'.

Be realistic while remaining positive. It's best not to tell your child that everything will be fine. If it turns out that your child needs treatment they could lose trust in both you and the dentist. 

Read books about visiting the dentist. You can find a number of age appropriate story books about going to the dentist. These books can help your child understand what will happen at the dentist. Try to find a book featuring one of your child's favourite characters, this can help your child to view a trip to the dentist as a positive experience.

Hide Your Own Anxiety

We know it can be challenging, but even if you're anxious or nervous about visiting the dentist try not to let it show. Make an effort to put on a brave casual face when talking to your child about the dentist. Remain calm, relaxed and positive, even if that's not how you really feel.  

Be Prepared For A Few Tears

Your child may begin to cry, squirm, whine, or resist treatment. Prepare yourself for this possibility and try to remain calm. Children are our specialty, we know how to help you and your child if difficult behaviour happens. 

If you have more questions about how to help your child feel less afraid of the dentist, give us a call. We’re here to 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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