How to Get Your Kids to the Dentist Without Tears, Tantrums or Throwing

Growing up, you might remember a time in your life when the only thing scarier than the boogeyman was your dentist. Over the years, you grew to appreciate your dentist and his or her service to your dental health, however, it did take you some time to grow into that mentality. Give your kids a boost, and yourself a break, from yelling, shrieking and crying, by making a trip to the dentist a reason to celebrate- not to panic.

Here are 6 helpful tips that can help the dentist turn from an evil scientist with scary tools with to a fairy godmother will a cool wand!


  1. Emphasize Oral Health Early On

    From an early age, comment on and bring attention to the beauty of clean and healthy teeth. Make brushing your teeth a fun family activity and your adult dentist trips a "cool" adventure from which you come happy, glowing and smiling wide. Incorporate basic dental health as early as possible into the daily routine of your children. Chances are that it will become second nature to them and there'll be less fighting and fussing about it later on. "Changing habits is one of the most difficult things to do. Take it one day at a time and start slow," suggests Dr. Kimi Marran of Pure Smiles South Bay. "Making one small change a week can add up to huge change overall," she adds.

  2. Start Early ( age 1 or 6 months after first teeth)

    A child's first visit to the dentist's office should happen around their first birthday- or else within 6 months of the first teeth growing in. When kids are used to being around the dentist's twice a year ever since they can remember, there's a smaller chance that they will become anxious all the sudden later in life. “It is easier to form good habits early on than break bad habits later on” says Dr. Sirisha Bhandaru, DMD of Carrollton Smiles. "I recommend early dental appointments as they help kids get comfortable at an early age and it becomes a part of their health care. I recommend a kids first dental appointment when they are around 1 years old" she adds.

  3. Play Dentist At Home

    It's fun to play "house" or "hairdresser" with kids. Roleplay is their favourite way to learn about how society works and how "adults" function within it. Next playtime, try playing "dentist". Start by just using the back of a toothbrush to touch and count the teeth in your child's mouth. Practise gargling and spitting properly into bowls and cups.  Make it as fun as you can and don't forget to explain what cavities are and how we prevent them!
  4. Don't Schedule During Nap Time

    Every parent knows how impossible life is with a drowsy infant or tot. The whining, fussiness and irritability makes it difficult to get anything done, even something that your child doesn't usually mind. Do yourself, your child and everyone at the dental practise a favour by bring well-rested and happy children. It's normal to schedule your appointment outside of nap time in order to have the best version of your daughter or son in the chair.

  5. Make them as comfortable as possible

    Many young children are shy and nervous around new people and in unknown environments, so it's natural for them to be anxious about leaving you in the waiting room or having to let go of their favourite toy. Consult with your dentist about the best strategy for this problem. Perhaps he or she will allow you in the room while your child is in the chair or Teddy can sit on the equipment tray and keep them comfortable during the checkup or procedure.
  6. Choose the right dentist

    Personality is as important as services when choosing a dentist for your children. Find a Montreal dentist who provides comprehensive dental care as well as has a great connection and understanding of children and their development. Remember that the more services your dentist provides, the fewer people and places your nervous child has to interact with and get used to.

Getting your child to be a model of good behaviour in the dentist chair is no easy feat. However, with sufficient preparation and a conscious attitude towards dental health, you should be able to fight off the tantrums and screaming fits that most parents dread when the word "dentist" is whispered. It is possible to make it into a fun event, as long as the time and effort were put in beforehand and your dentist is on board with your approach to your child's dental health.

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Comment by Mary L S Peterson on September 22, 2016 at 10:08am

Wish I could have read this post when my now 4-year-old twins were getting their first teeth!  I had not thought of the role play idea and will DEFINITELY be using that one!  I've also had my kids accompany me to the dentist so that they can see firsthand that mom likes getting her teeth all sparkly and they can visualize what kinds of things go on. Thank you for posting these great tips!  

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