It is not abnormal for children to have some anxiety about going to the dentist, but as a parent, there is a lot you can do to help your child overcome those fears. Regular dental check-ups are essential to good oral health, so the sooner your child becomes comfortable the better. Use the following tips to help your child overcome a phobia of visiting the dentist for an exam:

Visit a Pediatric Dentist

Pediatric dentists have additional training to help them treat children. It is not uncommon for pediatric dentists to use smaller instruments, which can make a child feel more comfortable during a dental exam. Most pediatric dentists are also carefully designed to appeal to kids-- the waiting room and exam rooms may be painted bright colors and there are often toys and books available.

Talk About the Dentist in a Positive Manner

Even if you have your own dental anxiety, never talk about the dentist in a negative manner. Instead, talk to your child about how a dentist will help him or her have very healthy teeth. It is best to avoid any talk about discomfort or pain.

Practice at Home

Prior to a dental exam, spend some time with your child practicing going to the dentist. Have your child sit reclined in a chair and pretend to give him or her a dental exam. Consider using an electric toothbrush that can feel somewhat similar to the instrument used to clean the teeth during a dental check-up. You can also have your child practice swishing mouthwash and spitting it out.

Explain What Happens

Sometimes, kids are afraid of going to the dentist because they don't know what will happen during the visit. Explain to your child exactly what happens during a routine dental exam, and let him or her ask any questions that he or she may have. You may also want to visit the library or a bookstore to purchase a book about going to the dentist.

Make the Experience Fun

Allow your child to bring a favorite toy or stuffed animal to the appointment for comfort. Praise your child after the appointment and let him or her know that the appointment went great. After the appointment, go to the park, see a movie, or do your child's favorite activity. Making the experience fun can help your child form positive feelings about visiting the dentist so the next appointment won't feel scary. 

For more information, talk to a professional like Smile City.