A girl having her teeth examined by a dentist wearing blue gloves holding two metal probe

What to do if your child is scared of the dentist

Vampires, werewolves, witches and black cats are seen roaming the streets and knocking from door to door around this time of year, but for many children in Britain, it’s your friendly local dentist who might send the coldest chill down the spine.

Children are among those most struck by fears and phobias surrounding their visits to the dentist’s chair, and The Dental Law Partnership1 believes that dental phobia is a reason why up to 40% of children avoid visiting the dentist for scheduled check-ups.

As we enter spooky season, it’s time we took a closer look at why children are scared of the dentist, and what parents, guardians and caregivers should do to stop fears getting in the way of good oral health

Why are children scared of the dentist?

A little girl having her teeth examined by a dentist

Dentistry has long been villainised by popular culture, despite significant leaps and bounds over the past couple of decades meaning even the more notorious treatments are now relatively comfortable.

More often than not, the irrational fears of dentistry in children begin at home. Parents and caregivers often forget that their formative experiences of dentistry were from a different generation. Indeed, their own childhood fears were most likely informed by their parents in turn, whose trips to the dentist as youngsters may have been from a radically different era of dentistry.

This often causes adult’s fears and negative memories to inform the way they speak to their children about going to the dentist. Coupled with best-selling children’s books like Demon Dentist, Halloween costumes of maniacal dentistry practitioners and the ever-present villainous dentist in movies and cartoons, it isn’t difficult to see why even the bravest of little ones might feel apprehensive before a simple check-up.

At Bupa Dental Care, we understand that going to the dentist isn’t always top of kids’ wish lists for a fun day out… but not only is it an essential part of maintaining excellent oral health, it shouldn’t be an unpleasant, stressful or anxiety-causing experience.

A young girl high fiving a dentist after their appointment

Keeping calm in the dentist’s chair

At Bupa Dental Care, our skilled and experienced professionals know that happy children make fantastic patients, and have all kinds of fun ways to make sure little ones feel comfortable throughout their patient journey.

Find your nearest Bupa Dental Care dentist, and begin your child’s journey to great oral health today. No jump-scares, bumps in the night or nasty surprises, guaranteed.

Find your local Bupa dentist

Bupa Dental Care is a trading name of Oasis Dental Care Limited. Registered in England and Wales No: 00478127. Registered office: Bupa Dental Care, Vantage Office Park, Old Gloucester Road, Hambrook, Bristol, United Kingdom BS16 1GW.

Oasis Dental Care Limited has a number of trading names including Bupa Dental Care. For a list of all our different trading names please follow this link.

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