Happy, Healthy (And Willing) Smiles: How to Talk to Kids About Going to the Dentist

How to Talk to Kids About Going to the Dentist

One out of every five children has at least one untreated and decaying tooth in their mouths. 

If your child fears the dentist, it can be hard to schedule appointments and get them into the office. 

It doesn’t have to be. 

Keep reading below to learn how to talk to your kids about going to the dentist. 

Start Taking Them to the Dentist Early 

You should start taking your child to the dentist when they’re as young as possible. 

This will help them become familiar with dental offices and the tools they use. It’ll also give your child a dental home they can return to every time they need an appointment. Because they’ll know where they’re going and who they’ll see, this can reduce anxiety. 

It’s a good idea to start taking your child to the dentist six months after their first baby tooth grows in. 

Tell Them in Advance

Let your child know about their dentist appointment as soon as you can. If you wait to tell them about the visit until the day of, their anxiety could be a lot worse. 

Instead, use the extra time to get them more comfortable with the idea.

Watch What You Say

When you’re telling your child about the dentist, make sure you don’t use any “scary” words. Avoids saying things like hurt, drill, pull, shot, pain, etc. 

These will only make your child worry. 

Try to use words your child will understand. If they don’t know what an X-ray is yet, you can say the dentist is going to examine their teeth. 

Keep Your Explanation Simple

Don’t feel like you have to describe the entire dental process to your child. If they’re going in for a routine appointment, you can let them know the dentist is going to check their smile or count their teeth. 

Keeping the explanation simple will stop your child from asking more detailed questions. 

But if they do ask a lot of questions, you don’t have to answer them all. Let your child know they can ask the dentist during the appointment. A Pediatric Dentist knows how to explain dental procedures in a non-threatening way to children. 

Play Pretend Before You Go

Set up a pretend dental appointment with your child before the real thing.

Teach them how to open their mouths wide, and use a toothbrush to count your child’s teeth. You can also hold up a mirror and show them how the dentist will look into their mouth. 

This will help your child get familiar with the idea and keep them comfortable during the appointment. 

Teach Them Good Oral Health

Tell your child the going to the dentist is a must. Doing so will help their teeth stay clean and strong so they can chew their favorite foods

When they learn that oral health isn’t an option, they will know what you expect from them and their teeth. 

How to Talk to Kids About Going to the Dentist

Your child will feel more anxious about going to the dentist if you make it sound scary. So keep your words simple and your explanation short. This will help them stay calm before and during the appointment. 

Does your child need some dental treatment after all?

Click here to learn about some of the health benefits of dental treatments.