Common Children’s Dental Fears and How to Ease Them

Dentistry is one of the top 10 most trusted and ethical professions in the United States. However, the fear of dentists is a common phobia for people of all ages, especially children. Depending on the severity of your child’s fear, dentophobia can lead to serious health issues later on in life.

When a child’s dental fears aren’t eased, they can grow up to delay or avoid dental care. This puts them at greater risk of infection and chronic pain as they grow up.

That said, it’s important to ease your child’s dental fears early on to help them establish a happy and healthy relationship with dental care. Here are some of the most common children’s dental fears and what you can do to ease them.

  1. Fear of loss of control. Laying back in the dentist’s chair as your family dentist examines your teeth and uses unfamiliar tools can cause anxiety. Teach your child that they can always ask their dentist to stop when they need to.
  2. Fear of the unknown. When family dentists examine your child’s teeth, it’s understandable for your child to be nervous. After all, their dentist is using funny-shaped tools they’ve never seen before. Ask your family dentists to show your child each of their dental tools and what they’re used for to help take the unknown out of the dental exam.
  3. Fear of needles. When your child has a cavity in one of their permanent teeth, they’ll need a filling to keep the tooth decay from causing pain and other issues. A fear of needles can make your child afraid to get their cavities filled. To help ease their fear, have your family dentists teach them about the filling process. The gum is typically numbed first with a gel before the shot is given to numb the area where the filling will take place. Your child won’t feel the needle or, if they do, it’ll only be a small pinch.
  4. Fear of teeth falling out. During a dental cleaning, there can be a lot of scraping and polishing. This is to remove any harmful tartar or plaque that may be lurking on your child’s teeth. Your child might be afraid that their teeth might fall out because of their dentist’s scraping and their other tools. Remind your child that their teeth are very strong and stay rooted in their gums. They’re not going to fall out that easily.
  5. Fear of having a tooth pulled. Tooth extraction is sometimes necessary, but it won’t happen without your child being informed first. Ease your child’s fears by letting them know that they’ll never have a tooth pulled without their notice. If they do need a tooth pulled, having your family dentists explain the process to keep your child from feeling in the dark. Avoid scary words like “shot,” “hurt,” and “painful.”
  6. Fear of contracting an illness. This is a common fear both for patients visiting the dentist, the doctor’s office, and the hospital. If your child is scared of getting sick by visiting the dentist, make sure that they know the dentist’s office goes out of their way to make sure the environment is clean and sterile.
  7. Fear of poor quality care. This is both a fear for kids and parents. Fortunately, the best way to ease this fear is to do your research on the local family dentists in your area. Read the reviews on dentists’ websites and elsewhere, ask around to friends and family, and call to set up consultations with different pediatric dentists. Look for a dentist that not only has the expertise you need for your child’s dental care but also has the compassion and spirit to work successfully with kids. The more comfortable your child is at their first dentist, the more likely they are to feel confident as they visit the dentist later in life.

Looking for compassionate family dentists? Smilez Pediatric Dental Group has the pediatric dentists you’re looking for. We offer preventative care in a comfortable environment to help put your kids at ease while we take care of their teeth. For more information about our pediatric dental services or to schedule an appointment with us, contact Smilez Pediatric Dental Group today.