Getting your child to the dentist (with as little drama as possible)


Jade Poole from I write words

Getting your child to the dentist

Are you dreading your next visit to the dentist? Follow our steps on how to get your child to the dentist as calmly as possible.

Shame, I’m sure most of us can dig back to our first visit to the dentist. Or even the third and fourth - sometimes we’re still a bit nervous on our 10th visit. What can we say, the dentist makes some people deeply uncomfortable.

Experience combats being uncomfortable. And little kids don’t have that yet - so of course, there may be some anxiety and fear. Going to the dentist is weird when you’re small. It’s a new space with a new face who is bringing shiny, noisy subjects very, very close to your face. You can see why the experience may be overwhelming.

Luckily, there are things you can do to make your necessary dentist visits less stressful.

Take them to the dentist from  as young as possible

From the moment that first tooth comes through, you can book an appointment with your dentist. Teeth usually start appearing at 6 months old but if they happen to take longer than one year, don’t wait to take them. Dentists also specialise in gum health, so they can assess the health of your baby's mouth as a whole.

Taking them from a young age is important. Not only for their health but also for calming them down when they start to get dentist anxiety.

As your child becomes a bit older, they’re more aware of their surroundings. The sight of the dentist's tools is more frightening when they’re 2 or 3 than they’re a few months old.

Does health insurance include dental cover?

Give them time to prepare

The first step to preparing for a smooth dentist visit is giving your child enough time to process what’s coming. It’s not ideal to spring the visit on them after school because you think it may be less of a hassle. That’s only going to shock and upset them.

Instead, give them time to change their thinking about dentists. This also gives you more time to put them at ease. Use this time to tell them how cool the dentist is and why we need them to help look after our teeth.

Set a good example

Be aware of the words you use around your child in the lead up to their visit. Our advice would be to steer away from diving into the details of the appointment. You never know if the way you describe the experience is incorrect or scary. Using words like filling or injection could make them more nervous than you realise.

Also, be wary of speaking of your own experience at the dentist. Retelling your story of a root canal gone awry isn’t appropriate at this stage of the game.

Setting a good example also applies to your oral hygiene habits at home. If you take teeth seriously, your child will be more understanding as to why they need to go to the dentist.

Teach them about dental health

Children are going to be more comfortable if they know why they need to do something.

Good oral hygiene is having a routine for cleaning your teeth, which should be once in the morning and once at night. If your child understands how important teeth are, they’re more likely to trust the people who professionally look after them.

Teaching your kids about dental care isn’t just about brushing. It also includes flossing and any antibacterial mouthwash. Good oral hygiene also includes a healthy diet with as little sugar as possible and most importantly, regular visits to your dentist. Prevention is the best medicine, especially when it comes to teeth.

Read more about protecting your kid’s pearly whites: Improving your kid’s oral hygiene habits one brush at a time

Choose your dentist carefully

You can’t avoid the inevitable, but you can make it better. The dentist you go to will make a massive difference. You could take them to your dentist. This way, your child will have a ‘dentist-home’ they can become familiar with and build a relationship with the dentist.

That being said, if your dentist is a bit stiff and severe, you should ask around about dentists who work with kids. If you phone different offices and chat with the receptionist, you may be able to get a feel of the office as a whole.

At Oneplan, we know what a dream it is to find the perfect fit. We also know what a pain it is when your insurer makes you choose somebody else. With us, we let you go to the dentist of your choice. So when you find the dentist that makes your kid smile (and keeps their smile healthy), you can stay right where you are!


Yours in excellent health insurance,


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