Skip to main content

NewFolks may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

6 ways to ease kids’ fear of the dentist

This is a pretty common issue that many dentists have tackled over the years. Sometimes, kids are afraid of the dentist simply out of irrational fear. But there are other reasons that they can be afraid of going for a dental checkup, too. Pop culture, especially some cartoons, have portrayed dentists to be treacherous monsters, which could not be further from the truth. The bottom line is that proper dental care is essential for their health. If you have a child afraid of going to the dentist, we’re sharing six ways to help ease their fears.

Watch educational videos (or read books)

With the vast, wide world of YouTube, there are plenty of educational videos that can help your child feel better about going to the dentist. Alternatively, there are a variety of books on the market that can help your child learn all about the dentist. The books will tell them what dentists do and how they will make your child’s teeth big and strong. Below are some videos and books that might help you.



Pretending To Play Dentist
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Role-play a pretend visit

A few days before their dental appointment, have a “pretend” dentist visit with your child. Gather up some things like a mirror and other items to pretend that they are dental tools. Start chatting with your little one about going to the dentist and how beneficial it is for them to keep their teeth clean. Talk to them about how visiting the dentist can help them do that. While talking to them, encourage them to look in the mirror and smile, count their teeth, and you could even get a toothbrush and pretend to clean their teeth as a hygenist would. Don’t forget to ask them if they have any questions about going to the dentist, and see if you can help to ease those fears that they have.

Implement positive reinforcement

Positive reinforcement does not mean bribing your child with something like candy, dessert, or a new toy. However, what it does do is build up their morale when you talk about just how well your child did at the dentist. They will be happy that you are proud of them, and it will truly be invaluable to them. Make sure that you build them up on the way to the dentist, and finally, when they get to the dentist’s office, be their coach and cheer them on. When they are done, give them a huge hug and let them know how proud you are of them for being so cooperative at their visit.

Find a pediatric dentist

If you have one in your area, finding a pediatric dentist could be key to helping to ease your child’s fear of the dentist. Many pediatric dentists and their staff are equipped on how to speak to children who are afraid. Not only that, the offices are typically are decorated with fun decor to help ease kid’s fears. Plus, many dentist offices have different kinds of distractions for the kids. These include some really cool tablets, movies for the kids to watch, and some even have game systems. What kid can resist that?

Always Smile Lightbox
Image used with permission by copyright holder

See if you can stop by

If children are a bit more familiar with their surroundings, it won’t be sprung on them the day of their appointment. One way to do this is to call up their dentist and ask them if your child can come in for a walk-through and a tour of the facility, and maybe even meet the staff. This could do a lot to help your little one feel better about going along to the dentist if they have met the people that will be working on their teeth. If your dentist allows this, it is definitely a great thing to do with your child.

Deep breaths

You might need deep breaths all around depending on how your child deals with their dentist appointment. The most important thing is to calm them down and get them to a state where you can talk to them about what is going on and how they are feeling. You also have to make sure that you take some deep breaths as well, as it is hard to see your little one scared, but they are in good hands with their dentist.

Going to the dentist can be a pleasant experience for both kids and parents. If you try some of these tactics to help keep them at ease during their dental cleaning, the chances of it being a smooth visit are much higher. By using some of these methods to cope with fear, your child will be one step closer to a comfortable dental appointment.

Editors' Recommendations

Jennifer Passmore
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Jennifer has written two books on how to deal with living with chronic illness using the power of positivity. She has written…
Why children have trouble making the ‘R’ sound, and when to call a therapist
How to tell if your child needs a speech therapist
Parent and child practicing speech

Learning to talk and communicate is an exciting time for toddlers and their parents, and it can be incredibly sweet to see how your little one's speech advances over time. Anyone who has spent any time around little kids knows that it's common for them to say "twuck" instead of "truck" and to struggle with other words that involve making that "R" sound.

But what is it about the "R" sound that makes it so challenging? And how do you know whether this common speech issue will resolve itself, or if you need to seek help from a professional?

Read more
How old do you have to be to wear makeup? What every parent needs to know about this rite of passage
Advice for parents wondering how old a child has to be to wear makeup
Mother and daughter playing with makeup

Giving out your personal makeup tips to your teenager may be a rite of passage — but what about your younger kids? It seems that children are wearing makeup now at younger and younger ages, and as your child transitions into their tween years, and sometimes even younger, they may want to start wearing some makeup as a way to express themselves. Experimenting with makeup doesn't have to be taboo, and it can even be a safe and healthy way for your child to experiment with their creativity and express their personality.

You may find yourself wondering how old do you have to be to wear makeup, especially if your parents were strict about the matter. Take a look at our helpful parenting tips below as a guide for how to talk to your child about makeup.

Read more
These weight loss tips for teenagers really work and are good for their self-esteem
Tips to help teens lose weight and build their confidence while they get fit
Teenage girl jogging

As a parent, you want nothing more than for your children to be happy and healthy. Unfortunately, when your teen isn't feeling their healthiest or they're struggling with their weight, it’s easy for them to think it's their own problem to deal with alone.

If your teen has expressed concern about their weight or that they'd like to get healthier, you can support them by incorporating lifestyle changes as a family. If you're struggling with how to help your teenager lose weight in a supportive and non-judgemental way, here are some weight loss plans for teenagers to help get their energy up and their fitness back on track.

Read more