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7 Ways To Help A Child Manage Dental Anxiety

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Anxiety about the dentist is not just limited to adults. Some children suffer from dental anxiety that can make it difficult for parents to get them into the chair for a thorough examination. Since skipping the dentist is not an option, you have to take action to help your child overcome his or her fears. Here are some suggestions that can help.

  1. Talk to your child about his or her fears. Sometimes, your child's fear of the dentist is rooted in something that is easy to overcome. It is because of this, you need to talk to your little one about his or her feelings. 
  2. Watch your language. Your child places a lot of value in what you say. If you use language, such as "pain" and "hurt," he or she will associate the dentist with those things. Look for alternative ways to describe the visit to the dentist and what happens during an examination.
  3. Schedule a pre-visit. If this is your child's first time to the dentist, ask the dentist can his or her staff arrange for a pre-visit to the office. During the visit, your child can meet with the dentist without the mask hiding his or her face, sit in the examination chair, and look at some of the instruments used.
  4. Practice for the appointment. To alleviate some of your child's fears, practice an examination at home. You can show your child what happens and give him or her a chance to act it out with you. 
  5. Choose a children's dental care specialist. Instead of taking your child to a general dentist, look for a children's specialist. He or she will be more familiar with easing the fears of young patients. 
  6. Do not offer a bribe. Although offering your child a special treat for going to the dentist sounds like a good idea, it is not. By offering the bribe, you are reinforcing the idea that there is something to be afraid of at the dentist's office.
  7. Tag in another adult. If sitting through an examination with your child triggers anxiety in you, ask another adult to take your little one to the dentist. If not, your child could pick up on your anxiety and make his or hers worse. 

If your child is still unable to overcome his or her fears about the dentist, consult with the dentist to identify other ways to make the visit easier. To learn more, visit a website like