Your Child is Nervous About the Dentist? What You Can Do

It’s natural to be nervous about the dentist, no matter what your age, so it’s no wonder that so many kids find going to the dentist to be a nerve-wracking experience. As a parent, you can help your child feel more comfortable at the dentist office.

By helping your child adjust to the dentist in Aitkin and Deerwood MN over time, and by finding a dentist that can make your child feel comfortable, you can turn going to the dentist into a positive experience. In this article, we’ll go over some strategies that parents use to help their child manage anxiety about the dentist.

Shop for the Right Dentist

Finding the right dentist is one of the first steps to helping your child. An experienced pediatric dentist will have a variety of strategies to help children feel comfortable. To find the right professional, call dental offices in your area and speak with the dentist you’re considering for your child. Ask questions such as:

  • What do you do to help nervous children feel comfortable with the dentist?
  • Will I be allowed to stay in the room with my child?
  • What do you recommend I do to help my child feel comfortable visiting the dentist?
  • What can we expect during our first visit to your office?

Talk About Positive Experiences At the Dentist

Reassure your child about the dentist by saying positive things about your experiences at the dentist office. Tell your child about how you love the way your teeth feel when your teeth have been cleaned.

Tell your child that you always go to the dentist twice per year because you want to keep your teeth healthy. This information will help your child understand that you think going to the dentist is a positive experience overall.

Read Books About the Dentist Together

There have been many children’s books written about visiting the dentist office. Pick out some books your child will appreciate and read these to your child. When the book is finished, Encourage your child to ask any questions they might have about the dentist, so you can answer them.

Make Regular Appointments, Don’t Avoid Them

It’s tempting to avoid making dentist appointments when your child feels so nervous about going to the dentist, but skipping appointments can create a bigger problem in the long run. Stay on top of your child’s pediatric dental exams in Aitkin and Deerwood MN. Call River Oaks Dental today to make an appointment.

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.


Baby Dental Care: What Every New Parent Should Know   

Older kids need to see the dentist every six months – but did you know that babies need to see the dentist too? In fact, baby dental care can start even before the teeth grow in! If you’re a new parent, it’s important to know when to take your child to see the dentist in Atkin and Crosby MN. Staying on top of your baby’s oral hygiene can help your child develop good habits from an early age, and can help your child maintain healthy teeth overall.

Do Babies Need to See the Dentist?

Babies do need to see the dentist! According to the American Dental Association, your child should see the dentist for the first time when their first tooth erupts from the gums, or by the time they turn one year old – which ever comes sooner. Seeing the dentist from an early age helps your child get off to a healthy start with good oral hygiene. Seeing the dentist early can help catch oral hygiene problems in their early stages.

How Should You Care For Your Child’s Teeth and Gums?

To care for your child’s teeth and gums, you can start by cleaning the gums with a clean, damp cloth. This can be done even before your child has teeth. Once the first tooth comes in, start brushing your child’s teeth with a soft-bristle toothbrush and a tiny dab of toothpaste. Don’t use fluoridated toothpaste until your child is old enough to stop themselves from swallowing the toothpaste. This may happen around 3 years old.

When Should the First Tooth Erupt?

Most babies start to get teeth when they’re between six and twelve months. Your child’s teeth can come in earlier or later, but if your child hasn’t grown a tooth by the time they’re 1 year old, see the dentist anyway.

What Are the Signs of Teething?

When your child starts teething, you’ll probably notice that they get very fussy, and they may start chewing on things and/or drooling a lot. They may also get a small fever.

Should I Brush My Child’s Teeth for Them?

It’s a good idea to brush your child’s teeth until they’re about 7 years old. Need advice on how to do it? Speak to a pediatric dentist in Atkin and Crosby MN. Call River Oaks Dental today to make an appointment!


How to Manage Your Child’s Toothache

The pain from a toothache can be excruciating. For some reason, toothache pain feels like nothing else. This is actually because the very nerves of the tooth are being irritated in some way. It’s bad enough when you have to go through this kind of pain, but when it’s your child in agony, it’s almost impossible to bear. Until you can get your child to your pediatric dentist in Crosby and Aitkin, MN, here are some fast and effective ways to soothe your child’s toothache.

Heating Pad

Try using a heating pad to apply warmth to the cheek where the toothache is happening. Keep the setting at low or medium. A child isn’t necessarily going to tell you when it’s too hot. If you don’t have a heating pad in the house, you can substitute with a face towel moistened with warm tap water. You could also try placing a dry face cloth in the microwave for no more than two seconds to get it warm fast.

Topical Analgesic

There are topical analgesics available over-the-counter that will numb the area fairly quickly. Find these near the teeth cleaning supplies in any pharmacy. Be warned; they do not taste good, and your child may balk at the distaste. Just persevere and apply with the tip of your clean finger or with a cotton swab. Follow up with a sip of soothing warm milk or tepid water, but not too much, so the analgesic doesn’t get rinsed off.


Depending upon the level of pain, you may be able to distract your child while you are en route to get pediatric dentistry in Crosby and Aitkin, MN. Try reading your child their favorite book, or animating their favourite push toy with funny voices. You might even pretend that one of their toys or dolls has a toothache, so your child’s attention is focused on helping the toy. This will also be beneficial for the child, knowing that they are not the only one who needs help.

Unless instructed by your pediatric dentist or pediatrician, avoid giving your child oral medication for a toothache. Topical solutions are best so there is no possible interference with subsequent treatment. Contact us for more information.