According to authors Ari Kupietzky and Gerald Z. Wright, a fear of the dentist is acquired or ‘ learned’ from experience or copied from the negative attitudes of parents. Nobody is born with a fear of the dentist! Generally, parents understand this and try not to influence their children in this way.
To avoid – or break – this cycle, it is important to build a rapport with the kids. Conversation at their level, extra time for explanations and procedures not only encourages co-operation but lays the foundations of a healthy relationship.
Appointments before school are a great idea. After a night’s rest, kids can tolerate such chores as visiting the dentist than when tired at the end of a day. (Remember your friends teasing and worrying you about it all day?)
Not all dentists feel confident managing or relating in general with children, so it makes sense to choose a family-oriented practice that will greet your child with patience and understanding and avoid that fear cycle. And a great start is bringing them – even as toddlers – along to your own check-ups.