So the first step to overcoming a child's fear of the dentist is to ensure you aren't inadvertently stoking this anxiety yourself. Watch what you say in front of the kids, and try to work through your own fears, since parents tend to convey these emotions through their mannerisms. Never tease a child about going to the dentist or talk in a way that might provoke anxiety.
How to overcome a child’s fear of the dentist·
Step 1: Find the source of the fear.
The obvious conclusion is merely to assume that a child fears the pain, and this might indeed be the case. Yet the pain dentists inflict, though real, is usually minor, and there can be many other sources for a child’s fears. Some kids are afraid of being able to breathe, others fear the dental tools, some may not like the bright light he uses, and young children are also prone to all types of other irrational fears, such as being afraid of the dentist’s glove. Some may have heard about the dentist's drill, and envision the types of drills their daddy uses to cut large holes through wood.
Others can fear having to lay back in the dentist chair, which can feel like a vulnerable position for a child. Cynthia Weideman, D.D.S., says that "kids are sometimes afraid to lie down when they come to the dentist, because they're afraid they're going to choke." Others might be scared by the noise of the drill, not the drill itself. In one circumstance, headphones or earplugs might help, whereas in another they would be completely useless. So take the time to sit down with your child and find out what, precisely, is bothering them.
Step 2: Prepare them for the process ahead of time
Anxiety over the unknown is often a primary driver of fear. So merely talking about what the process will be like ahead of time can help to alleviate a child's fear of the dentist, especially if they've picked up imaginary ideas from peers. It also helps to talk up the value of good teeth and emphasize the dentist as a community helper who keeps us healthy. Here are some additional things parents can do in the period leading up to a dentist appointment to help alleviate a child's fears: