How to Help Kids Overcome Their Fear of the Dentist

5 Tips to Overcome Your Child’s Dental Fear

helping kids overcome their fear of the dentist - clayburn dental

At Clayburn Dental in Abbotsford, we understand that kids have anxieties about visiting the dentist. The idea of going to a bright room with unknown and sterile objects around them while a stranger puts metal objects in their mouth can be as scary as a bad nightmare.

In fact, being afraid of going to the dentist is so common in pediatric dentistry, it’s known as “odontophobia.” Studies suggest that approximately 10% of all children suffer from odontophobia, and as many as 20% exhibit at least mild anxiety during their first visits to the dentist.

Odontophobia causes additional stress to your child that could adversely affect their oral health. Almost two-thirds of all children who get scared about the dentist develop behaviour that makes dental care difficult.

With baby teeth falling out at a young age, many children require as many as ten visits to the dentist by the age of five! So it’s important to ensure your child’s comfort at the dentist from the very first visit so that they can begin looking forward to coming to the dentist in Abbotsford.

Your Abbotsford dentist at Clayburn Dental values establishing a positive relationship early to lead to strong dental health and a healthy smile for the rest of your child’s life! That’s why we’ve prepared five tips to help prepare your child for the dentist’s chair!

1. Start Them Young

Take your child to their first dental visit in Abbotsford as early as the age of one! Most toddlers don’t finish teething until around the age of three, but even in those early years, you’ll want to give your child a great first impression of the dentist.

Dr. Rhea M. Haugseth of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises that your toddler’s first couple dental visits are less about treatment and more about preventative care. “It’s really about educating the parent on what to do to keep your child in optimal oral health,” she says. Learning about how to best help your child with their oral health and making them—and you—feel comfortable at the dentist’s office go a long way towards positive experiences at the dentist down the road.

2. Avoid Bribery and Focus on Positivity

Most pediatric dentists recommend not promising your child sugary treats as a bribe for visiting the dentist. Not only does that send the wrong message for a clean, healthy mouth, but children will tend to feel even more apprehensive about the dental office if they know it’s something that would compel their parents to offer them sweets for visiting. Instead, focus on positive thoughts about visiting the dentist to help calm your child for future visits.

Also avoid giving your child false hope by guaranteeing there will be no pain or that the dentist won’t find anything bad. Letting your child down will have long-term repercussions that are avoidable. Instead, focus on positivity again by talking about the importance of oral health to your child.

3. Stay Cool and Avoid Your Own Anxiety

Studies show that as many as 10% of adults suffer from odontophobia too. Showing your own anxiety around your kids will only make things worse, as it could give your child the wrong impression. Some parents who have anxieties also think that bringing their kids along to their own dentist visits is a good idea, but kids might sense the fears that the adults have and also become intimidated by the adult-oriented environment they’re in.

4. Choose the Right Dentist and Be Consistent

Finding a pediatric dentist who loves children is important to help your child feel positive about getting their teeth clean. Your Abbotsford dentist at Clayburn Dental features kid-friendly dentist rooms while your child’s teeth are being examined, so your child can feel comfortable from their very first visit. Staying consistent also helps achieve a good routine for your child to develop a positive relationship with your Abbotsford dentist and reduce anxiety levels with each subsequent visit.

5. Take Your Child on a Pretend Dentist Visit

Going on a trial run of your child’s first visit to the dentist is an excellent way to help them feel confident and excited for the real thing. Clayburn Dental in Abbotsford even offers a special Kid’s Tour to introduce them to their Abbotsford kid dentist, let them have a “chair ride” and meet the popular Tooth Explorer and Water Squirt characters in our kid-friendly dentist rooms.

Visit Clayburn Dental

Talk to Clayburn Dental today about how we can help your child overcome their fear of the dentist with our free Kid’s Tour and kid-friendly dental services. Schedule a Kid’s Tour by emailing us at or calling 604-852-8487.

By : Clayburn Dental /September 21, 2016 /Pediatric Dentistry / Comments