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Visiting the Dentist

Easing Your Child's Fears

*This webpage is for information purposes only. It is NOT a substitute for professional dental advice.*

Fast Facts
  • Some children fear the dentist because they don’t know what to expect.
  • Prepare your child for a visit to the dentist by:
    • Bringing her along on your dental appointments.
    • Talking about what’s going to happen.

Help ease your child's fear of visiting the dentist by preparing beforehand. If your child's first encounter is fun and relaxed, she'll look forward to the visits that follow.

Reasons for common fears

Most children fear going to the dentist because:

  • They experienced pain or discomfort during a past visit or they’ve
    heard someone else talk about a painful experience.
  • They don’t know what to expect (fear of the unknown).
  • They don’t like the sound of the suction device or drill.

Tips for a pleasant visit

You can ease your child’s fears and make her visit with your dentist pleasant by:

  • Talking to her about what happens at the dental office.
    Say only positive things. Be sure not to use phrases like, “it won’t
    hurt” or “don’t be scared.” You don’t want her to think that the
    dental visit will be scary or painful. You want the visit to be a good
    experience.
  • Taking your child to your dental appointments
    beforehand. That way she can meet the dentist and dental
    hygienist and see there’s nothing to be worried about.
    Get into the examining chair yourself and let your child sit on your lap.
    This will help your child become more comfortable in the chair. 
  • Having a friend come with you if you’re afraid of the dentist.
    Your friend will help you and your child feel less nervous and will
    keep you focused and distracted.
  • Getting her used to having her mouth examined.
    In the days leading up to the visit, get your child used to having her
    mouth open and having her teeth touched. Play a teeth-counting
    game of “how many teeth do you have?”, or “let’s see if you’re
    getting any new teeth.”

After a bad experience…

  • Remember, dental health is important to overall health.
  • If your child has a bad experience, don’t stop taking her to the
    dentist.
  • Talk to your dentist and ask questions about your child’s
    experience.
  • Not all dentists are the same. If necessary, talk to friends and
    family members to help you find a dentist.

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Revised: August 20, 2013

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