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Helping Your Child Overcome Their Fear of the Dentist

Helping Your Child Overcome Their Fear of the Dentist

Kids have plenty of irrational fears, from the boogie monster under their bed to the bugs crawling around outside, and every parent knows that fear can shape your child’s day and yours.

And if your child fears the dentist  — a fairly common childhood fear — that might make you dread their upcoming appointment. 

Irene Zaki, DDS, and our Happy Teeth Children’s Dentistry team are here to help. We strive to create as warm, welcoming, and comfortable an environment as possible at our office in Riverside, California. And if your child still isn’t feeling relaxed in Dr. Zaki’s chair, we can also explore sedation dentistry to help them. 

Usually, the fear of the dentist comes from one of two sources — and we want to help you tackle whichever affects your child. 

The fear of the unknown

Some kids feel nervous in unfamiliar situations. If they’ve never been to the dentist before or haven’t been there often, laying back in the dentist’s chair with a bright light overhead and lots of unfamiliar faces and tools can feel overwhelming. 

The good news? For these kids, exposure goes a long way. Encouraging them to get through a couple more appointments should be enough to breed some familiarity. And with that, the fear of the unknown fades. 

To help with the hurdle of those early appointments, you can read stories or watch short videos about visiting the dentist to help the environment feel more familiar. 


Also, don’t hesitate to bring a comforting item (like a stuffed animal or blanket) with them. We’re happy to accommodate anything that helps your child feel more relaxed. 

Fear from past bad experiences

Other kids aren’t scared of what they don’t know but what they do know. They had a painful or scary experience at the dentist before. These children might need a little extra support to get past their nervousness. 

If this sounds like your child, talk with our team about sedation dentistry. This option gives us a safe but effective way to keep them completely relaxed during their appointment. A few visits with sedation dentistry may be enough to build a new, more positive association with the dentist. 

Also, make sure you’re being diligent about their at-home oral care. Their trips to our office are much more comfortable if they’re not coming in with inflamed gums or lots of tartar buildup on their teeth. The brushing and flossing they do at home go a long way toward making their next appointment as pain-free and fast as possible. 

Ultimately, we want to help kids feel relaxed and welcomed at our office. So, if your child fears the dentist, chat with us. We can work together to explore ways to help them overcome their fear. 

To get started, call our office or request an appointment online today. 

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