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Most of us fear new things or things that intimidate us. So if your child is afraid of going to the dentist, it’s totally normal! That being said, you don’t want your child to stay afraid of the dentist, so here are some things you can do (in addition to simply talking about it) to help them conquer that fear.

Show your child that the dentist is safe

Have your child accompany you for a cleaning, if possible. When children are afraid, it can help to observe their fear in a non-threatening, safe way. Additionally, you’ll be able to model for them how to have a positive, cooperative attitude when they visit the dentist.

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Meet the dentist ahead of time

Another way to help alleviate your child’s fear of the dentist is to show them that dentists and their staff are just regular people doing their job and helping people keep their teeth healthy. So try to stop by your dentist’s office for a meet and greet (separate from their appointment), so that your child can get acquainted with their dentist before the checkup. Perhaps your child could even prepare questions they have and “interview” their dentist and the staff about their job!

Incorporate dentistry into playtime

Just as you would play grocery store with your child or school, try playing dentist together! Perhaps you could buy or create tools that look like the ones a dentist uses and have a recliner be the “special chair.” Having your child pretend they’re the dentist and you’re the patient should give you casual, pressure-free opportunities to talk about dentists and how they help us.

If the above tips aren’t helping your child get over their fear of the dentist, consider seeking out professional help from a psychologist. They should be able to tell if your child has deeper, underlying fear issues, and help your child sort them out in a healthy, productive way.

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