{Guest post by Riya Sander}

Fear of the dentist is common in kids. These tips help kids overcome fear of the dentist so they can stay healthy and strong.

It happens to every parent. Your sweet little baby begins fussing for no apparent reason. Then upon close examination, you find your little one has sprouted some teeth. It’s time to visit a dentist. How can you ensure that your child has a positive experience with the dentist? If they’re older, how can you help your child overcome any fears they have? Fortunately, there are many ways you can make your child more comfortable about going to the dentist. Here are eight ideas that can help kids overcome fear of the dentist.

Start Them Young : Take your child to see a dentist as soon as a milk tooth and other primary teeth start to appear. The sooner you begin going the sooner your child will get used to the doctor, the sights, and the sounds.

Answer questions : Kids are inevitably going to have questions when they are new to child dental care. It’s okay to answer their questions. Don’t hide from them. Just be sure to answer your kids honestly (even clinically if you need to) and age appropriately. Keep it simple and don’t include too many details or else your endeavor to comfort them might backfire on you. And always use positive language. You want to emphasize that everyone goes to the dentist all the time and it’s necessary for our health.

Read Books : There many great books that help to explain what a trip to the dentist looks and sounds like. Choose colorful, fun books that include your child’s favorite characters like Dora the Explorer, Little Critter, and SpongeBob Squarepants so that they can better understand that going to the dentist isn’t so bad.

Role Play : Play make-believe with your child and “schedule a dentist appointment” with them right at home on your couch or on a bed. Walk them through a typical check up from the friendly lady at the front desk to the sticker they get when they’re finished. Explain the different tools and procedures like taking x-rays, checking for cavities, and polishing. Make it extra fun by counting their teeth with your fingers so they can know what it feels like. And, above all, show them that nothing hurts.

Make It an Event : Use positive reinforcement by making a visit to the dentist a fun time with you. Offer to go do something special after the visit such as a trip to the toy or book store, or to the playground, miniature golf course, bowling, etc. Make the association that going to the dentist is fun and spending time with you afterward is even better.

Bring a “Lovey” for Comfort : If your child has a favorite toy, stuffed animal, or blanket, make it okay that it gets brought along. Every dentist is different, which means that you may or may not be allowed to hold their hand during the examination or even be in the room. If your child has something they are attached to for comfort, let your child bring it. Your dentist will understand, and you can applaud them for being so big.

Trust Your Dentist : If bringing a favorite toy doesn’t quite bring the comfort you hoped for, let the dentist and the staff handle the situation. As specialists in children’s health, they have experienced anxious children before and know exactly what to do.

Set a Good Example : If you have a personal fear of the dentist, it becomes very important to not pass it on to your kids. If you somehow give them the feeling that going to the dentist is no fun, that it’s scary, painful and boring, that’s what they’ll expect without ever having been there or only having been there a few times. Instead, pretend it’s no big deal. It’s better to stay quiet and let them develop their own opinions of going to the dentist.

A kid’s dental check-up doesn’t have to be scary. With just a little time, effort, and fun you can make going to the dentist something they won’t mind while they learn that it’s a part of our overall health. Later on, they will appreciate you for ensuring they have a big, beautiful smile for years to come.

Fear of the dentist is common in kids. These tips help kids overcome fear of the dentist so they can stay healthy and strong.

Riya headshotAbout Riya:  Riya is an Australia-based writer. She is a stay-at-home mom with 1 little girl. She is very delighted to work with many aspiring small business owners. She loves cooking, crafting and yes! sipping a good coffee. Check out her Twitter.