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How to Help a Child Who’s Afraid to Go to the Dentist

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It’s very important to take your child to the dentist regularly. But going to the dentist can be scary for children. These ideas may help your child feel less afraid:

  • Tell the dentist ahead of time that your child may be anxious. Ask him or her to explain things to your child.

  • Go into the treatment room with your child.

  • Use distraction. Tell your child to look at something in the office or to think about something fun.

  • Offer your child earphones to listen to music with and play his or her favorite songs.

  • Praise your child for behaving well at the dentist’s office.

“Medline Plus: Child Dental Health.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, September 7, 2008. www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/childdentalhealth.html. Accessed 2013.

“Calming the Anxious Child.” American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. http://www.drmarfori.com/parents06.php. Accessed 2013.

“Anxiety.” Mouth Healthy, American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/a/anxiety.aspx. Accessed 2013.

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