5 tips to reduce dental anxiety in children

Is your child scared of the dentist? Check out our tips to reduce dental anxiety in children.

Is your little one scared of the dentist? It’s a common problem – and one that needs to be nipped in the bud. Regular dental check-ups are crucial to their oral health and it’s important to instil good dental care and oral hygiene habits from an early age.

Here we offer a few tips to help overcome dental anxiety in children:

  1. Choose a family-friendly practice

Eliminating your child’s dental anxiety can, often, be as simple as choosing the right dentist. So why not do a little research into practices in your area? Try to find somewhere ‘family-friendly’ – with dentists who understand your child’s fears and can successfully ease their concerns.

Here at Kiln Lane, our team of dentists are experienced and skilled in treating anxious children. We’re one of the leading family dental clinics in St Helens – with membership schemes for both children and their parents – and we can help to turn your child’s much-dreaded check-up into an enjoyable experience.

  1. Start dental visits at a young age

The earlier a child takes their first trip to the dentist, the better. Ideally, you should book an appointment at our family dental clinic as soon as their first milk tooth appears (and no later than their first birthday). This will allow them to get used to the experience. They will build trust with the practice and their dentist and, as a result, quickly realise there’s nothing to be afraid of.

mother brushing her child's teeth to avoid dental anxiety

  1. Tell them what to expect

When it comes to dental anxiety in children, it’s usually due to the fear of the unknown. They don’t know what to expect and this lack of understanding is what causes their apprehension. So, tell them.

Describe what will happen at their check-up and answer their questions as honestly as possible. Show them pictures of the practice and dentist, and try to offer a clear explanation – such as “this is Hanna and she will check your smile and count your teeth”.

One idea is to have a ‘practice’ dental visit at home. Pull out a chair and pretend to be the dentist. It’s a fun activity and it can help to squash their anxiety. Alternatively, there are many children’s storybooks which cover the topic and offer an easy way to explain what happens at a dental appointment.

  1. Teach the importance of oral health

It’s also worth explaining why dental visits are necessary. The more your child understands, the better they will feel.  So, tell them why it’s important to look after their teeth – and explain how regular visits to the dentist are part of that. Portray the dentist as the ‘good guy’, someone who is there to help, and it’s surprising how much this small bit of knowledge can help to settle their fears.

  1. Hide your own anxiety

Dental anxiety in children is often learnt from their parents. If they sense you’re anxious about a trip to the dentist, they will feel anxious too. You need to lead by example. Even if you hate going for your annual check-up, try to hide your nerves as much as possible and show your child that there’s nothing to fear.

child at a family dental clinic in St Helens

Get in touch with our St. Helens-based family dental clinic

If it’s time for your little one’s first dental appointment and they’re showing signs of anxiety, feel free to get in touch. As one of the very best family dental clinics in St Helens, we can offer tailored advice on how to calm their nerves and will ensure their check-up is a fun, enjoyable experience.

We currently offer a children’s membership, which includes one dental examination and hygiene visit per year, as well as a range of extras. This gives your child the best possible start to oral health and, due to the regularity of the visits, it can help to resolve their dental anxiety at an early age. To find out more, either give us a call today on 01744 25776 or send an email to info@kilnlanedental.co.uk.