Photograph of a young girl sitting in a dentists chair with her eyes covered as a female hygienist is nearby.

How to Calm Children’s Dental Fears

ScottPediatric Dentistry

Barkoff Dental is a family dental practice. We see patients of all ages, but our pediatric patients are most special to us. The dental care children receive lays the foundation for a lifetime of good oral health, so it’s important that kids feel comfortable and secure at the dentist. Unfortunately, dental fears and phobias are quite common in younger patients. Parents often ask us what they can do to calm their children’s dental anxieties. Here’s what we tell them.

Keep Your Own Dental Anxiety in Check

One of the most common causes of dental anxiety in children is dental anxiety in parents. How is this fear transmitted? Obviously, as a parent you’re not telling your child to be afraid of the dentist or confiding in them about your own avoidance of the dentist, but children pick up on subtle cues from their parents and how we talk about dental care.

When you tell your child not to eat another piece of candy, do you say it’s to help them stay healthy or because they’ll get cavities and the dentist will need to drill their teeth? Do you offer your child a reward for going to the dentist, making them feel like it’s something unpleasant that needs to be endured? Maybe you attempt to prepare your child for the worst case scenario by telling them that they may feel pain during their visit. Even though parents who use these tactics mean well, they all contribute to dental anxiety in children.

Make Sure Your Child Has a Dental Home

A dental home refers to the relationship that is established between you, your child, and their dental practice. When pediatric dental care is started early and visits are scheduled every six months, your child gets to know our team and we get to know your child. Coming to our office becomes routine for them. Children who have a dental home are more comfortable going to the dentist and they also have better dental health. Better dental health leads to easier dental exams and cleanings.

As a family dental practice, we believe it’s also beneficial for children to see that we also treat their parents and siblings. This, too, can help alleviate dental anxiety. When your children see you coming to our office—or even sit in on your exams—it helps normalize the process for them.

What We Do to Help Your Child’s Dental Anxiety

Our goal is to make your child’s appointments with us as pleasant and comfortable as possible. We talk to our pediatric patients in age appropriate ways, modulating our voice and choosing our words carefully to help them understand dental procedures. If your child is more calm with you in the room, we’ll never ask you to leave. We’ll empower them to communicate with us and, if needed, use safe, effective forms of sedation to help them relax and feel more comfortable while we work.

Pediatric Dentistry in Syosset, NY

If your child doesn’t have a “dental home” yet, consider Barkoff Dental. We offer a full range of pediatric dental services, in addition to dental care for the rest of the family as well. Contact us today at 516-921-1133 to schedule an appointment.