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How to Ease Dental Fears in Children

Many children have fears of going to the doctor and this is also true for children visiting the dentist for the first time. When you take your child to the dentist for the first time, it can be quite scary. The chairs are big, the lights are bright and the dentist wears a scary mask and gloves. You can try to rationalize with your child and tell him or her that there is nothing to be afraid of, but your child still may be scared. The good news is that there are things that you can do to help ease the fears of that first dentist visit. If you are taking your child to the dentist for the very first time, consider the following:

Your child should see a dentist by the age of two. This seems like a very young age, but this is a good time to instill the importance of regular visits. The dentist will introduce your child to the office and show him or her the equipment in a non-scary way. In addition, the dentist will probably talk to your child about the proper way to brush and the importance of eating healthy. If you start taking your child to the dentist at an early age, he or she is less likely to be afraid.

Read books about visiting the dentist. One great way to prepare a young child for the first trip to the dentist is to visit your local library or bookstore and find books about visiting the dentist. Many popular childrens character have books that explain going to the dentist in an easy, child friendly way. You might even find movies or cartoons about going to the dentist.

See a pediatric dentist. If you have tried taking your child to the dentist and the visit ended in tears, you might want to consider using a pediatric dentist. A pediatric dentist is specially trained to work with children and their needs. In addition, you may find that a pediatric dentist uses bright colors and smaller chairs in their office making the visit seem less scary. Pediatric dentists usually see patients up to the age of eighteen.

Take your child to the dentist with you. If you are going for a regular check up at your own dentist and you do not need any major work, think about taking your child along to watch. Before you do this, speak to your dental office and make sure that is acceptable. In many cases, your dentist will allow your child to help examine your teeth. That helps them know what they can expect at their first visit.

Take a favorite toy. When it is time for your child to go visit the dentist, allow your child to bring along their favorite toy, doll, pillow or blanket. Having something that is familiar may help your child cope with the visit easier.

If you have a child that has a fear of visiting the dentist, try some of these tips for an easier visit.

Written by Cathy Warschaw, Director of the Warschaw Learning Institute providing training for dental offices, dentists, dental assistants, hygienists, office managers and newbies to the dental field. Interested in low-cost dental insurance visit (2007)