My Child Is Scared of the Dentist. What Do I Do?

My Child Is Scared of the Dentist. What Do I Do? 

Fear of the dentist is quite common among adults. Now, imagine being a child who doesn't really understand what's going on and why a stranger is poking around their mouths. 

But, while your child may be scared of the dentist, you understand very well the importance of good oral health and preventive dentistry. So, how can you help them overcome their fear? 

Here are some helpful tips. 

What Causes Dental Anxiety 

Various reasons can make a child scared of the dentist. If this is their first visit, then the bright light, strange instruments, and the fact that a stranger is looking inside their mouth might make them restless. If they had a previous bad experience, then their anxiety may increase during the next visit. 

You need to see things from the child's perspective to be able to help them. For example, they may feel powerless because they are in an unfamiliar environment, and forced to sit in a chair. Or maybe they heard another child crying and that made them more anxious. The position in which they are sitting on the chair with their mouth open makes it a bit difficult for children to breathe and that could increase their anxiety too. 

Tips to Help Your Child Overcome Their Fear 

Try some of these tips to help your child overcome their fear: 

  • Take Them to Their First Visit Early 

Don't wait too long until you schedule your child's first appointment. The sooner they are exposed to this environment, the easier it will become for them to get used to it and understand what's going on. 

Experts recommend that you take a child to their first dental visit when their first teeth emerge and no later than their first birthday. 

  • Take Them to The Dentist Regularly 

If you are only taking your child to the dentist when they are experiencing dental pain or other problems, then it's normal that they would associate it with a bad and painful experience. Take your child to regular dentist appointments for check-ups and dental cleanings so that they can see that going to the dentist isn't synonymous with pain or discomfort. 

  • Let Them Know What To Expect

Help your child manage their fear by letting them know what to expect. Explain what the office looks like and what will happen. Read books together about going to the dentist or watch videos so that they know what to expect. 

  • Roleplay 

Children need stories to help them make sense of the world around them. Role-playing can help them manage their expectations and fears. Pretend that you are the scared child and they are the dentist to make them feel like they are in charge now. 

  • Lead by Example 

Children learn best by imitating those around them. If they see you brushing your teeth every day and going to regular dentist appointments, they will be more prone to follow your example. If possible, take them with you to your next appointment so they can see what happens. 

Are You Looking for a Good Pediatric Dentist? Call Us! 

Another great way to help your child overcome their fear is by taking them to a kind and empathic dentist. 

At Kids 101 Pediatric Dentistry, we've created an environment where kids can feel comfortable and safe. Our dentists know how to work with kids so that they relax. 


If you'd like to meet us, book your appointment now.

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