Dental fear and avoidance

Adults often say that their fear is the result of their childhood experiences at the dentist

Adults who are afraid of going to the dentist often say that their fear is the result of their childhood experiences at the dentist. This fear leads to avoidance of needed dental care. It becomes a barrier to achieving good dental health. To prevent this from happening there are a number of approaches that can help with your child:

  • Make your child’s first appointment before they have a problem! A good introduction has been shown to help “inoculate” children against dental fear.
  • Don’t wait until your child has toothache, as this is more likely to lead to anxiety related to emergency treatment.
  • If you are anxious or fearful about visiting the dentist try to avoid passing on your anxiety to your child. Try to be relaxed when discussing dentistry or visiting the dentist. Avoid relating your “worst experiences” to your child.
  • Prepare them properly for the first visit: Tell your child that when visiting the dentist for the first time they will have their teeth counted, be given a toothbrush and have their teeth brushed and polished. Most children find this fun!
  • By having a good first visit we hope to make future visits to the dentist easy for all concerned!