How to prevent your child from fearing the dentist’s office

Is your child about to experience his or her first visit to the dentist? For most children, new experiences are not easy and a visit to the dentist’s office can be intimidating. Pediatric dentists deal with patient apprehension all the time and with the right combination of communication and preparation, your child’s first dental appointment can be safe, comfortable and enjoyable.

Let’s explore some ways you can help your child prepare for their first appointment with the dentist.

Practice round: Kids love using their imagination. Role play a pretend dentist visit at home as a way to warm them to the experience before the real deal. You can practice teeth counting, brushing, flossing or fluoride. You can even switch roles and let your child be the dentist for you.

Communicate with the dentist: A pediatric dentist is used to dealing with nervous first-time patients, but it doesn’t hurt to communicate your concerns. If your child is particularly shy or they feel anxious over their first appointment, let the dentist know. They can plan ahead to provide your child with some extra reassurance if need be.

Make it fun: Incorporate your kid’s favorite characters, sports or shows into the experience. Find teeth related story books, television shows or streaming videos that feature characters going to the dentist.

Stress the importance of healthy teeth: Alongside helping your kids get used to the idea of the dentist, use this time as an opportunity to explain the necessity of healthy teeth. Explain that the dentist is a friendly helper and that healthy teeth build strong adults.