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5 Tips to Get Your Kids Comfortable with Dental Visits

Pediatric Dentistry Anchorage

Routine dental appointments are critical to the maintenance of our health, especially for kids. It’s important that parents instill this habit in their children at an early age. A trip to your dentist at True North Family Dental Anchorage may seem like a trivial task for adults who know what to expect, but can be intimidating – and even scary – for young kids.

According to the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation, the leading cause of childhood illness results from tooth decay. Approximately 16 million kids in the United States have tooth decay that has been left untreated. Tooth decay and oral problems from a young age not only affects teeth, but overall health and all aspects of life.

Getting your child to the dentist can be a daunting task for parents, especially if your child has peers with prior negative experiences. If you are unsure of how to get your child comfortable with dental checkups, you’re not alone. Below are five tips for helping your child overcome any fear and actually enjoy visits to the dentist.

Tell Them What to Expect

Fear can stem from the unknown. Getting on the website of the dental office you plan to visit to show your child pictures of the office can be helpful. When you call the office to schedule a visit, ask for a rundown of the appointment so you can later relay that to your child. As you brush your child’s teeth, explain that the dentist will also be doing the same type of thing. The more information the child has, the more empowered they can feel.

Be Honest and Understanding

If your child needs dental work, it can be tempting to lie about things like how cavities are treated. Honesty is the best policy, however, it is important to remember to use words that are non-threatening to your child. If your child has dental visit fears, ask them to tell you what they are specifically; try to listen and understand how they may be feeling. Answer their questions, and offer positive experiences of dentals visits you have had.

Explain that Dentists are the “Good Guys”

Children need to know that dentists are superheroes for their teeth. Explain to your kids that they only get two sets of teeth, and we have to take good care of them because they have to last a lifetime. Explaining that similar to brushing and flossing, visits to the dentist are part of that routine to grow big and strong. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, you should take your child to the dentist twice a year. These visits should begin when your child starts getting his/her teeth, or around age one.

Make It Exciting!

Showing your child pictures of the dental office– as we previously mentioned in the first step – can inevitably spark some enthusiasm. Some dentists have really neat play areas and unique toys, which makes it something your child can look forward to. Going to the dentist is a new adventure! Using encouraging language such as, “We get to go to the dentist” instead of, “We have to go to the dentist” can also be helpful in making it a fun experience.

Be There

Being physically present during your child’s appointment goes a long way in ensuring they feel confident and safe. For a lot of kids, separation from their caretaker or parent can cause anxiety and/or fear. Make certain the person scheduling your appointment is okay with you staying with your child during the duration of the visit.

Other than eating healthy foods and practicing good oral maintenance, taking your child to the dentist is the single most important way to support healthy teeth. Utilizing these five tips will help ensure your child is not only comfortable visiting his or her dentist at True North Family Dental Anchorage, but they enjoy it too!

This Post Has 11 Comments
  1. My brother is thinking of going to a general dentistry practice for kids with his children. He is nervous since it will be a couple of his kids’ first time going. I will let him know that if he makes it exciting for them, that it won’t be overwhelming or scary.

  2. I love that you talked about making certain the person scheduling your appointment is okay with you staying with your child during the duration of the visit. I have a cousin who just moved with his family and is looking to find a good general dentistry his wife can take their kids to. I’ll be sure to talk to them about finding one that his wife can be with their kids at during appointments as well.

  3. It will be the first time that I will bring my child to a dentist once I found the dental clinic that is perfect for children. He doesn’t seem to be nervous when we talk about bringing him to the dentist, but I want to make sure that, after his first experience, he will still come back without feeling anxious. I love the idea of using other terms to spike their interest such as using “get to go” rather than “have to go.” Thanks for the help!

  4. I appreciate your advice on getting kids comfortable with dentist visits, especially about how to make it something exciting and something to look forward to. My young kids can have some attachment anxiety sometimes, and so I want to be sure that they feel comfortable without my right next to them, and that a dentist visit isn’t a negative experience for them. I will have to follow your advice as they start to get older and need dentist visits more often.

  5. I like your suggestion to make going to the dentist exciting for the kids. My daughter is old enough now that she should start getting her teeth checked regularly. I’ll have to find a dentist to take her to and make it exciting.

  6. Thank you for pointing out that honesty is the best policy when it comes to taking your child to the dentist. My family just moved and we are going to need to find a new family dentist. My children are terrified of the dentist so I’ll have to try and find one that is going to be understanding a patient.

  7. I like what you said about telling your child what to expect and to keep things with them transparent. Being honest with my children and allowing them to get a better picture of the real world is important to me. I want them to grow up thinking that the dentist is a good thing. Hopefully, I can find a good family dentist for my child.

  8. It sure got me when you mentioned how honesty is the best policy and that it will be a lot better for the child if the parents are honest about what the child needs to expect but put in a non-threatening way. My little seems to be afraid of going to the dentist, and it is a problem since she needs to get her teeth checked soon. I know my parents will probably stretch the truth to get her to comply, but I think your tip is a lot better. Thank you for sharing this!

  9.  It’s really a nice and helpful piece of info. I’m happy that you shared this helpful information with us. There are some best tips to get your kids comfortable with dental visits. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  10. We recently found out that my child got cavities. It appears that we were not able to monitor his oral health well because of being busy with our business. Now, we need to bring him to a dentist to fix this issue. So thanks a lot for the tips on how to make my child comfortable during the visit because he can be quite anxious about medical facilities. My favorite part is when you said that it can help them relax when you show photos of the dental office from their website. Thanks!

  11. Honesty is key! When I took my little girl Ellie to Molar Bear Pediatric Dentistry in Houston, TX 77084 I knew that her first visit would be easy or really rough for the both of us. Thankfully our dentist is very understanding and kind so it was a good visit

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