Why are first visits to the dentist often scary to children?
“Are you going to give me a SHOT?” “Are you going to PULL ALL MY TEETH OUT?”
“Is this going to HURT?”
These are the dreaded questions we often hear from a handful of children who have never even seen a dentist before. Who is putting these thoughts in their heads? Why would they ask these questions not even knowing what is going to happen yet? Yes, you guessed it. Uncle John tells them what it is like getting wisdom teeth pulled. Big Brother Jimmy tells them they will be getting “shots” in their gums, and Sally, the mean girl down the street, tells them the dentist is going to “pull out all your teeth!” Sometimes even mom and dad will say, “Don’t worry, the dentist isn’t going to HURT you!”. Why even give them that thought?
On your child’s first visit, it is best to refrain from using high anxiety words that might cause unnecessary fear, such as “hurt” “shot” “pull” “drill” or “needle”. Try not to tell your child how much you may “hate” the dentist yourself, the bad experiences you may have had, or what it felt like to get your teeth “drilled”. Children usually have fear if someone at the home or children around the neighborhood tell them scary stories. Try not to tell them what you think the dentist may or may not do. Keep it simple, happy and positive. Our staff uses words that give the same message, but are pleasant and non-frightening to the child. With the help of family at home and our well trained staff in our office, together we can make your child’s first visit to the dentist fun and easy.