4 Tips to Reduce Your Child’s Anxiety about Going to See the Dentist

An anxious and afraid child is something that no one wants to see, especially at the dentist’s office. If your child feels anxious about a trip to the dentist, you may need to address their dental anxiety early on to decrease the possibility that this fear will continue into adulthood.

Here are four tips below to help reduce your child’s anxiety about visiting a pediatric dentist in Aitkin or Crosby, MN

1. Stay Positive About Personal Visits To the Dentist

If you have dental anxiety, the likelihood of your child developing anxiety about going to the dentist will increase. Try to stay positive and share positive experiences you’ve had with the dentist.

2. Read Books and Play Games About the Dentist

Before the child’s appointment, parents can use books and play free online games to help familiarize their child with what he or she can expect during a dental visit.

3. A Reward Is Always a Great Motivator

Promising a reward for specific behaviors is a great way to motivate a child.

Wording matters, which is why parents must avoid using negative phrases like, ‘if you stay calm’ and ‘as long as you do not scream or have a tantrum’. Instead, use phrases like, ‘if you stay seated’ and ‘as long as you follow directions’.

To help end the dental visit on a positive note, parents should give their child these rewards directly following his or her appointment.

For the sake of the child’s dental health, parents should avoid using sugary treats as a reward. Instead, consider offering one of the rewards listed below:

  • A sticker book
  • A stuffed animal
  • A die-cast toy car
  • A coloring book with crayons

4. Bring a Comfort Item

Have the child bring a companion along to the dentist. Good choices include a small stuffed animal or a figurine. Holding this familiar item during treatment can help relieve the child’s fear of the dentist.

What We Can Do To Help Relieve a Child’s Dental Anxiety

If a child is extremely uncomfortable about having dental work, we can also use nitrous oxide (aka laughing gas) to help relieve his or her anxiety. Each Minnesota dentist and team member at River Oaks Dental dedicates themselves to providing high-quality, personalized care and exceptional results.

If you are near Aitkin or Crosby, MN, please make an appointment if your child needs dental care at your nearest River Oaks Dental office. To schedule an appointment at River Oaks Dental in Aitkin, MN, please call (218) 927-3785 or to book an appointment at River Oaks Dental in Crosby, MN, call (218) 546-5191.


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