It is understood that one in four people are very uncomfortable with going to the dentist for one reason or another; in this article we will take a look at why –and how to cope with a child that is afraid of going to the dentist.


Image by Erik Christensen, Porkeri via Flickr

It is estimated that 20% of Americans resist their need to visit the dentist for regular check-ups or necessary procedures and only go when the pain of their ailment becomes too much to bear. A further 5% to 8% of Americans avoid dentists altogether; out of fear, out of bad childhood memories, and out of the fear of the perceived agony they associate with going to the dentist.

Fear of the dentist is a real thing, and that’s why these numbers were recorded by the Dental Fears Research Clinic at the University of Washington –a real research organisation devoted to treating fearful dental patients.

It is suggested that when discussing your child’s fear of going to the dentist Sydney that you illuminate the current dental outlook. There are a number of stark improvements that have been built into dentistry over the last several decades, making your trip to the dentist a more comfortable one.

This also goes double for adults who may have a fear of going to the dentist. Often for adults it is our experiences from our youth that shape are deeply rooted fears. It is important to remind adults with a phobia of dentists that procedures today are drastically less invasive and can be completed in a fraction of the time they once were.

Advances in Dealing with Fear in Dentistry

  • Better environment; relaxing things to do (distractions for apprehensive kids)
  • Quicker procedure turn around than 1990’s standard dentistry procedures
  • Gentler, less invasive experience
  • Dentists are much less “institutional” than they once were; much more approachable, friendly, comforting service
  • Additional entertainment often provided; sunglasses, movie, earphones –or if not; bring your own

How to Help Your Child Overcome their Fear of the Dentist

  1. Be sure to understand the limits of your child’s fear of the dentist; extreme cases may require some form of counselling first.
  2. Help your child get to know their dentist; make their first visit a check-up, nothing invasive –use this time to allow your child to get to know your dentist. Move onto cleaning, and take it one appointment at a time.
  3. Choose a dentist that is kid-friendly and will give your child a sense of control; a good dentist will gently explain what the patient will feel, for how long, will ask for permission to continue, and will establish a signal for when to stop.
  4. When selecting the time for your child’s dental appointment, it is suggested that you choose a time earlier in the day (morning) so your child has less time to chew on it. Pun!
  5. It is quite normal for kids to make their first few dentist visits with someone they really trust, such as a close relative or a friend with no fear of going to the dentist on their own. Your child’s trusted friend can either wait in the waiting room or sit with your child through the procedure.
  6. In addition to prior counselling, some children or young adults may feel more comfortable reviewing which sedation methods are appropriate and available. Sedation methods include nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas), local anaesthetic, or an intravenous sedative.


This post was contributed by Media Buzzer

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20 comments on “6 Tips to Help Kids Overcome their Fear of the Dentist”

  1. My daughter is terrified of the dentist! Thank you for these tips. I think if we go just for a check up first so she can scope the place out for herself, maybe she won’t be so nervous.

  2. I really like how the dental industry has come a long way, according to the list of advances, in helping people feel comfortable with visits. My daughter isn’t quite old enough to understand what’s going on, but once she is, I have a book I plan to read with her about going to the dentist and what to expect. Hopefully it will help alleviate any fears she may have!

  3. I agree that providing entertainment options is key to reducing fear of dentistry. I think most people are less likely to fear difficult procedures when they know they can watch TV during the process. That said, TV is not very fun without being able to hear it, so I think if a dental office is going to have TV’s, they should supply headphones.

  4. Awesome tips! Kids are the worst when it comes to getting them to a dentist, so finding the proper dentist to take care of your little one’s oral health is of utmost importance. The more comfortable a child feels, the better! Thanks so much for sharing! Awesome post!

  5. Thank you for sharing this. There is a real ingrained fear and apprehension in many children (and even adults) of the visiting their dentists. In light of this it now a good dentist’s responsibility to help children and adults alike feel at ease and comfortable when they visit their local dental clinic by providing high quality care and treatments.

  6. I like the advances you mentioned in dental care offices these days. It’s true that dental offices these days really cater to the patient and try to be more approachable and friendly. I, personally, am grateful for their efforts so that my kids feel completely comfortable when they go in to the dentist office. It’s not like it used to be when I was a kid!

  7. Great Share!
    Thank you so much for sharing this post.Experts often recommend early action so that kids never develop the fear in the first place. So, kids must have visited the dentist by the time they reached 1, or they must visit immediately after their first tooth emerges. This will help a great deal in removing your kid’s fear of dentist. Once again thank you and keep sharing buddy!

  8. I agree that when it comes to choosing a dentist it is important to find one that is friendly. It makes sense that remembering to do this can help your children understand the importance of oral care. I would want to find someone who has the proper tools and personnel to get the job done correctly.

  9. I like that tip to let your kid get to know their dentist. Things aren’t as scary when they’re not unknown. If you’re looking for a dentist it may be valuable to let your kid come with you so that they get familiar with dentists in general.

  10. Ive just persuaded my neice to seek dental help – shes 19 and expecting – this is a great review to help me – hoping she’ll be proactive when her little one arrives

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