Tips for Managing Dental Anxiety in Kids

Tips for Managing Dental Anxiety in Kids

Posted by Jami Thurber May 24, 2023

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Going to the dentist can be a scary experience for anyone, but especially for kids. The thought of sharp tools and unfamiliar surroundings can cause anxiety and fear in children, making it difficult for them to sit still or cooperate during dental appointments. However, managing dental anxiety in kids doesn't have to be a daunting task. With these helpful tips and tricks, you can help your child feel more comfortable and confident when visiting the dentist. Let's dive into how you can make your next trip to the dentist a positive one!

Dental Anxiety Is Real And Common In Kids

It's no secret that many kids experience dental anxiety, and it's a real issue. The fear of the unknown can make visiting the dentist intimidating for children, and this is not uncommon. Many studies have shown that up to 20% of school-aged children suffer from dental anxiety.

Dental anxiety in children can manifest in different ways, such as crying or throwing tantrums before an appointment, refusing to open their mouths during treatment, or becoming restless when left alone with the dentist.

The reasons behind dental anxiety may vary from child to child. Some kids might feel anxious because they've had negative experiences at previous appointments, while others might be afraid of pain or discomfort during procedures.

Whatever the cause may be, it is important to acknowledge that dental anxiety is a valid concern for many young patients. By understanding this fact, parents and caregivers can take steps towards helping their child overcome these fears and ensuring positive experiences at future appointments.

How to Manage Dental Anxiety In Kids

Dental anxiety is a common problem among kids, but the good news is that there are many ways to manage it. Here are some tips for parents:

  • Start early: It's important to start taking your child to the dentist from an early age, even if it's just for a check-up. This helps them get used to the idea of going to the dentist and makes it less scary.
  • Be positive: Use positive language when talking about dental visits with your child. Avoid using words like "pain" or "hurt." Instead, focus on how clean and healthy their teeth will be.
  • Choose a kid-friendly dentist: Look for a pediatric dentist who has experience working with children and knows how to make them feel comfortable.
  • Practice relaxation techniques: Teaching your child relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or visualization can help calm their nerves before a dental visit.
  • Distract them: Bring along toys or books that can distract your child during the appointment so they don't focus on any discomfort they may feel.
  • Reward good behavior: Praise your child after each visit for being brave and cooperative, and consider rewarding them with something small like stickers or a treat.

By following these tips, you can help manage your child's dental anxiety and ensure that they have healthy teeth for years to come!


Dental anxiety is a common problem among kids that can cause them to avoid visiting the dentist altogether. However, it doesn't have to be this way. By following these tips for managing dental anxiety in kids, you can help your little ones feel more at ease during their next visit to the dentist.

Remember to start preparing your child early on with regular visits and open communication about what they can expect at the dentist's office. Also, try using relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or visualization exercises before and during appointments.

Don't hesitate to talk with your child's dentist about any concerns you may have regarding their anxiety levels. They may have additional strategies or recommendations specific to your child's needs.

With a little effort and patience from both parents and dentists alike, we can make going to the dentist a much less stressful experience for our children.

Dr. James Thurber DDS, located in Lubbock, TX, has modern amenities and the latest technologies that enable the best dental care facilities for patients. Call us at (806) 745-6644 and book a consultation with the dentist. 

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