Sensational Smiles
6301 S. Minnesota Ave. Sioux Falls, SD 57108
(605) 610-2829

How to Help a Child Not Fear the Dentist

in Dental Health, Pediatric


At Sensational Smiles, our team strives to make your dental appointments comfortable and fun. But, let’s face it-whether a person is five years old or eighty a dental appointment probably doesn’t rank on the top 10 list of “awesome” things to do, especially for young children. Yet, having your child regularly visit a dentist in Sioux Falls with pediatric services is imperative for your child’s health because it helps keep their teeth healthy and teaches them excellent oral hygiene habits.

No matter how friendly a picture we paint of a doctor’s office, for a child, lying in a cold chair while a doctor pokes and prods one’s mouth with unusual instruments is not a naturally comfortable experience. At Sensational Smiles, our friendly and compassionate staff strive to create a loving environment for each of our young patients.

Be Upfront and Honest

Prior to the child having a dentist appointment, it is important to maintain a positive attitude and to discuss the visit in detail. Explain what will happen at the appointment and why healthy teeth are important. Always keep it simple, short and to the point so that the child understands what will happen at the time of the appointment. Avoid using words like painful or shot because these are trigger words that can illicit an angry response.

Incentivize the Appointment

While it may be tempting to offer a child a sugary reward for a job well done, given that they will be attending the dentist this is not the best plan. Instead, try to schedule the appointment for the morning and plan something fun to do afterwards like a play date with friends or a trip to the playground.

Don’t Expect the Appointment to Go Smoothly

Our goal is to establish a positive relationship with our young patients and the dentist at an early age. While, we will do all we can to make a child comfortable, they are kids and there is a chance your young child will whine, cry and squirm during their dental appointment. (Do not be alarmed, this reaction should wear off as they get older.) But, for now, luckily, we are used to these outbursts and are more than happy to assist in any way we can to make the appointment go as smoothly as possible. Some little things you can do to help the appointment progress with ease is to bring the child’s favorite book to read to them or hold their hand during the visit.

Use the Visit as a Teaching Opportunity

Remind the child that the healthier their teeth, the less time they will have to spend at the dentist. Because visiting the dentist is a must, it is important to teach children from a young age the steps necessary to have healthy teeth like proper brushing and regular flossing.

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My hygienist was very nice and so was the doctor. - Jeff W.