5 Tips for Managing Dental Anxiety in Kids

Going to the dentist can be a stressful experience. For a child, that fear may be intensified. Children may not understand what is happening, and they may worry that the procedure will hurt.

Tips for Managing Dental Anxiety in Kids 

Regular dental cleanings and exams are key to preventing tooth decay and other oral health problems. Unfortunately, these routine appointments are often a source of anxiety for children and parents alike. If kids are scared to visit the dentist, they’ll be less likely to take care of their teeth and gums at home. This can lead to further cavities and worse dental health down the road. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to make your child’s dental checkups less stressful.

#1 Start early.

It’s much easier to get children accustomed to the idea of going to the dentist if they’ve been going from a young age. Ideally, you’ll want to take your child to their first appointment around the time that they get their baby teeth, usually around their first birthday. It’s also important to have regular checkups throughout childhood. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children have their first visit around the age of one, followed by another before age three. After that, they should go every six months.

#2 Read children’s books about the dentist.

Some dental offices have books available that you can read with your children to prepare them for their first visit. There are also plenty of children’s books out there to help familiarize them with the idea. Reading the stories together can help to ease their fears and make them more comfortable with the idea of a checkup. If your child is old enough to read independently, you can also read kid-friendly books about visiting the dentist to get them ready for their upcoming appointment.

#3 Bring a favorite toy or blanket.

A favorite stuffed animal or other comfort object can be a great way to help your child feel more at ease at the dentist’s office. Bringing it along can help them to associate the dentist with something pleasant and comfortable. Having something familiar to hold on to helps calm their nerves.

#4 Lead by example

Teachers and parents should lead by example as well. If they see adults going to the dental practice regularly without anxiety, this can help children understand that this is something that is normal and necessary.

#5 Discuss the dental procedure beforehand

If your child does become nervous or fearful about an upcoming appointment, discuss what will happen with the dentist beforehand so they know ahead of time what they will encounter. Also, be clear that no matter how scared they are, they will be safe, and the dentist will take good care of them. Remember that everyone has a fear of something, and dentists understand this and will take steps to comfort children and make them comfortable.

At Arizona Dental, we ensure to provide each of our patients with a positive and relaxing experience. If you're ready to experience the best dental care, please contact us from your nearest location. We will be happy to guide you further.


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10001 West Bell Rd suite 123, Sun City, AZ 85351

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