My Child Is Nervous About Going To The Dentist – What Should I Do?

This is very common, most children don’t enjoy going to the dentist, or are nervous about their appointment. This is true even if the appointment is for a checkup, not just treatment appointments.

An effective way to teach children the importance of good dental care and the importance of going to the dentist is to show them images of good teeth and bad teeth and ask for their opinion. This is easily done by going to Google and typing in “tooth decay” or “yellow teeth” and “healthy smile”, and clicking through to “Google images” to show your child the differences between good and bad oral health. An image is worth a thousand words, and children will be shocked at the state of some people’s teeth. Both in terms of aesthetics, and also in terms of confidence levels.

This is a very effective exercise, and one that can be repeated on more more regularly to remind children of the importance of their dental health. Children will need to follow an effective home dental care routine, which should be based on brushing for 2 minutes in the morning and again in the evening before bed. This is the most important dental care step, in addition to attending regular dental check up appointments. These will be scheduled by your dentist as recommended, usually every 6 or 12 month.s

Your dentist or pediatric dentist will also advise if an orthodontic assessment is recommended, and when to schedule this, along with providing a referral. Children can also feel unhappy about the prospect of wearing braces, although this is very common and it’s likely most children will have a friend or friends who already wear braces. Children now have new choices including Invisalign clear braces, although these are only available privately, unlike traditional metal braces which are available on the NHS free of charge.

If your child is nervous, you should also allow plenty of time to travel to your practice, as rushing adds unnecessary stress to the event. Your child can also listen to music or read a magazine to relax. If your child is very young the dental technology can provide a welcome distraction, such as going up in the dentist chair, wearing safety glasses and looking at all the instruments and equipment. Most dentists are very child friendly and will also provide a sticker or other reward for attending.

During the appointment, the parent or carer will be asked to join them in the treatment room. This will reassure your child and you will be able to discuss dental care and any concerns or treatment with the dentist. Any individual advice will also be provided after the checkup or treatment. This may include custom brushing advice, or information on dental products to use.

If your child has fluoride applied they will need to wait for around one hour before eating or drinking, in order to allow the fluoride application to provide full benefit. Your practice may also provide free samples which are always popular with children. This includes travel sized dental care products such as toothpaste and mouth wash. Use these tips to inform, reassure and encourage your child.