Tips for Getting Your Child Acclimated to the Dentist

If you feel nervous before dental visits, you are not alone. Dental appointments can be intimidating even for adults, so it is no surprise that they can induce anxiety in kids too. Your little ones may feel overwhelmed in a new environment, especially when they do not know what to expect. 

You might feel tempted to postpone your child’s appointment until their fear subsides. Instead of doing this, you should take steps to make the experience easier for your children. Pediatric dentistry is necessary. It promotes excellent dental hygiene habits and keeps children’s teeth healthy. 


Help Your Child Overcome Fear of Dentists

For children, a dental appointment can be a scary experience. It involves entering an unfamiliar room with strange objects and noises and lying on a chair while a stranger is poking cold, unusual instruments into their mouth. 

As their teeth continue to fall out and develop, they may take many trips to the pediatric dentist before kindergarten. Follow the steps below to get your child acclimated to future dental visits. 


Start Early

The earlier children start visiting the dentist, the better. It will provide them with a dental home where they can have all their dental needs met. Pediatric dentists recommend taking children for their first visit at one year of age or when the first tooth appears. 

At this age, children are too young to sit by themselves on a dental chair. Their parents have to hold them, which provides a sense of security. Consequently, they will associate dental appointments with positive experiences when they are old enough to sit alone. Furthermore, they will have an existing connection with their dentists.


Watch Your Words and Keep It Simple

Your little one does not need to know that the dentist will use a drill. Also, avoid using words like pain, hurt, or shot. When discussing dental procedures with your children, please keep it simple.

Just let them know that the dentist will check to see if their gums and teeth are healthy. Please leave it to the dental staff to explain dental procedures and tools. They have the experience and vocabulary to help kids get through difficult situations.


Do a Pretend Visit

Play pretend with your little one and act out the step-by-step process of a dental visit, with you being the dentist and then the patient. That will help your child learn what to expect and feel less anxious about visiting the dentist.

Avoid making drilling or other scary noises during the mock dental visit. The key is familiarizing them with the routine. This will make them more comfortable for the actual appointment. 


Use Positive Reinforcement

After the dental visit, it is important to compliment children for a job well done and acknowledge the courage they showed. Consider giving your child a special reward to help boost their confidence. Positive reinforcement can help improve children’s attitudes toward future dental appointments. 



You and your loved ones must have regular dental checkups. These exams are essential even if you are not experiencing oral problems. It is usual for children to feel nervous before appointments, but you should not delay or avoid these critical dental visits.

The tips above should help relieve your child’s anxiety. Reach out to your dentist if you have any concerns or questions about making dental appointments more comfortable.

For more on pediatric dentistry, visit Fei Hwang, D.D.S. Milpitas Family and Cosmetic Dentist, at our Milpitas, California office. Call (408) 729-7882 to schedule an appointment today.

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