Handling Pediatric Dental Anxiety

The mention of the dentist can strike fear into children of all ages.


Pediatric dental anxiety is a fairly common occurrence, ranging from mild concern to extreme panic that can actually affect the way your child thinks about the dentist and their oral health for the rest of their life. Since it is so important to visit the dentist regularly throughout  life, it is important to teach children that the dentist office is nothing to be worried about and the dental office helps teeth stay clean and strong. Here are a few tips to help your child cope with dental visits.

Start Dental Visits at a Young Age

Starting dental visits as early in your child’s life as possible is not only good for their oral hygiene, but it helps establish familiarity with the concept of dentist appointments. Most dentists recommend bringing kids in as soon as their first tooth appears, or no later than their first birthday. Starting routine visits at a young age can help your child build trust in their dentist and feel more comfortable.

Read Dental Storybooks to Your Children

With colorful illustrations, easy to understand language, and a positive story regarding a dental visit, dental-related children’s books are a perfect tool to demonstrate to your child that there really isn’t anything to worry about when it comes to visiting the dentist.

Communicate Effectively

Give your child plenty of advanced notice when letting them know they have a dentist appointment coming up. Telling your child  at the last minute about a dental appointment can increase stress and anxiety, and may cause them more fear than if they have time to mentally prepare.

If they have any questions about what will be done at the dentist, answer them honestly and specifically, avoiding vague statements along the lines of “everything will be fine”. Use words like “clean”, “strong”, and “healthy” in regards to their teeth to convey the reason behind the dental visits.

Lead by Example

Show your kids what it takes to keep a healthy mouth at home. Encouraging brushing, flossing, rinsing with mouthwash, and showing them the proper way to do each one will help them develop positive oral hygiene habits. Let them know that the more they do to keep their teeth clean at home, the easier and smoother the dentist visits will go.

Go to a Family Dentist

Going to a family dentist for your children is usually the best option. Family-focused dental clinics are prepared and experienced at dealing with children and making sure they have a positive dentist experience. Family dentists can have colorfully decorated walls with pictures of popular cartoon characters, children’s books and toys to read and play with in the waiting room, and a toy chest with prizes to be given out for a well-behaved visit.

Looking for a great family dentist for your children? Allegiance Dental Associates delivers the kind of gentle, trusting care you want for your family. Contact us today to set up an appointment.