Fear is not instinctive. If your child is frightened about their first dentist visit, it is usually because they have learned this from someone.
- Familiarise your child with the dental clinic by (cheerfully) taking them along for your own visit.
- Schedule your child’s appointment earlier in the day when they are fresh.
- Be patient if your child is frightened and non-cooperative. It may be better to reschedule another time.
- Consider that some children respond better without a parent present in the room.
- Wait for an emergency to be the first visit.
- Make too much of the visit – your child will suspect something is up.
- Use the dental visit as a threat for any misbehavior.
- Say negative words like pain, jab or drill, or phrases like “It won’t hurt much” as this will only create anxiety.
- Try and explain exactly what will happen. The dentist has special words and ways to explain procedures to children.