My Child Keeps Freaking Out at the Dentist. What Do I Do?

My Child Keeps Freaking Out at the Dentist. What Do I Do?
Freaking Out at the Dentist. What Do I Do? | Junior Smiles of Stafford

It’s very common for a child to undergo a phase where they are afraid of dentists. And it is completely normal. It can be very stressful for them because people in masks and whirring dental instruments can be intimidating to children, who often don’t understand why they’re being exposed. Sitting quietly while a stranger places equipment in your mouth is a challenge, but it’s necessary.

Dental anxiety in children is understandable and valid; however, these children may grow up with dental phobia if it’s not addressed. This leads to poor oral health because of skipped dental appointments due to fear.

Read this blog to learn more about child anxiety at the dentist’s office!

What is Dental Anxiety

When someone has dental anxiety, they have a phobia, tension, or anxiety that is brought on because of going to the dentist. If you’re afraid of the dentist, you’re more likely to put off or forego necessary dental care, thus, poor oral health.

A fear of needles, drills, dental offices, or the dental experience can cause dental anxiety.

Why Does Your Child Have Dental Fears?

The first step in treating dental phobia in children is determining why they are afraid of the dentist. There are times when a child’s anxieties are unfounded. However, the majority of kids who suffer from dental anxiety do so because they are afraid of:

No control or powerlessness

A child may feel like they don’t have power or control when they lay in a dental chair with another person’s hand inside their mouth. If they experience any discomfort and pain, they won’t be able to communicate it since their mouth is obstructed; this makes a child scared. Due to this, they would rather not attend a dental appointment because they lack the instinct to flee from a frightening or painful circumstance.

Pain or discomfort

No matter what age a patient is, a dentist prioritizes treating them with kindness. However, certain procedures might cause discomfort or even pain, such as dental ones. This experience results in dental anxiety.

Your child may also not have had a positive experience before with a pediatric dentist during a dental procedure. They could have not been gentle. Using sedative techniques may put your child at ease during a dental process.

Unexplained Fear

Dental anxiety can be caused by various factors, including a fear of the unknown. Perhaps they’d overheard an adult or child talk about how a recent dental procedure was excruciating. It’s possible that they’re sensitive to the sights, sounds, and scents of a dental office because of this. Regular dental checkups are important for children, but if they haven’t had any or haven’t had any in a while, they may not be familiar with the dental procedure. Alternatively, they may have forgotten about the events of their previous visit.

Obstructed Breathing

As part of a dental checkup and cleaning, patients must keep their mouths open at all times. In particular, children could get uncomfortable with this situation. A child’s fear of the dentist may be heightened if, during a previous dental procedure, they had gauze or metal instruments in their mouth for an extended period of time and felt like breathing was more difficult.

Help Kids Overcome Dental Anxiety

Neglecting your child’s fear of dentists may result in poor oral hygiene as they won’t be able to receive professional and proper dental care. Dental visits are necessary since it lessens the risk of developing cavities. Despite the fact that dental anxiety can’t always be prevented, parents and dentists should work together to assist children in overcoming their fear of the dentist as soon as possible.

Use Reward-Based Approaches Wisely

After a visit to the dentist, it’s a good idea to give your youngster something to look forward to, but be careful with how you employ positive reinforcement. Some parents offer their children ice cream or toys in exchange for a dentist appointment.

Let them know

To avoid a stressful dentist appointment, handle it as if it were any other regular occurrence. Preparation and follow-up are equally important before and after your child’s appointment at the dentist’s office. Some of their dread and uncertainty can be reduced by framing it as just another part of a routine day.

Answer them patiently

Use simple, encouraging language when answering your child’s inevitable queries regarding the dentist. Tell them about how the dentist will count and clean their teeth so that they can maintain a beautiful, healthy smile. Avoid technical languages; let your pediatric dentist explain those.

Play pretend

A dentist trip can become an enjoyable experience rather than an unpleasant one when it is paired with a fun learning activity. Allow children to take a turn brushing the “teeth” of their dolls and stuffed animals while pretending to be a dentist.

Go to a pediatric dentistry

A pediatric dentist’s clinic is specifically structured to cater to the needs of youngsters. The space is more intimate, the equipment is more compact, and the staff is well-versed in child psychology and how to keep them quiet and happy.

Read Next: How to Treat Canker Sores in Kids

Contact Junior Smiles of Stafford to learn more about kid’s dental anxiety

Get in touch with the  most reputable pediatric dentist in the neighborhood if you want to help your child overcome their dental anxiety. As a parent, being informed and knowledgeable will help you deal with it properly. We offer the skills and equipment necessary to make your child’s dental appointments joyful and stress-free.

Why Choose Junior Smiles of Stafford?

Our Stafford, VA team is well-versed in working with clients of various ages and backgrounds. They’ll take the time to get to know you and your family’s requirements, and they’ll work with you to design a treatment plan that suits your schedule. Sealants and fluoride treatments are just two of the many preventative care options we provide to keep your mouth healthy.

About Us

Visiting Junior Smiles of Stafford means you’re in good hands when it comes to receiving high-quality care. Your child’s dental health improves with each visit, ensuring a brighter smile for years to come. We adhere to the ADA and AAPD’s guidelines for best practices. 

Where Are We Located?

963 Garrisonville Rd #103

Stafford, VA 22556

Phone: (540) 699-2441

Fax: (540) 699-2464


Monday and Tuesday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Wednesdays and Thursdays: 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Fridays and Saturdays: 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM (By appointment only)

How to Book Your Kids First Appointment at Junior Smiles of Stafford

Fill out the form on our website. Within 24 hours, a member of our team will get back to you.