Reasons Why Your Kid Has Fear of Dentists

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Dental fear is a common problem around the world. It is a struggle every pediatric dentist encounters, and this holds especially true in countries like the Philippines where dental health is not a priority. But the question is: why do children fear dentists so much that it causes them anxiety, or worse, phobia?

The fear of dentists among kids stems from the similar fear that thrives in the family based on a study on kids aged seven to 12. For example, if the father had an unpleasant experience with dentists, he may unconsciously pass this fear to his children. This makes dental fear a vicious cycle: parents develop this fear, they pass it onto their kids, and their kids carry it over and pass it onto their future children.

According to psychologist Ellen Rodino, PhD, fear of dentists is also caused not by pain itself but by the person’s lack of control when sitting on the dentist’s chair.

"You're lying prone, a dentist is hovering above you, and he's putting you in a situation where you can hardly talk or respond. That creates a lot of anxiety for some people because they don't feel in control," Rodino explained.

Aside from that, children may also develop anxiety and dental phobia because of previous painful experiences. Another reason is that they are embarrassed to have the pediatric dentist looking inside their mouths. This may be because of the stigmas not only existing in the Philippines but also in the other parts of the world.

Because of this fear, they get more prone to early tooth loss and gum diseases. So before dental fear can do much damage on your kids’ health, WebMD suggests some ways to ease your child’s fear of dentists.

  • Give simple and direct answers when your kid asks about the dental visit. Limit the details you will give about the visit and let the dentist answer complex questions.

  •  Don’t use words like “painful”, “hurt” or “shot” when talking to your child.

  • Never tell your kid about your unpleasant dental experience.

  • Stress the importance of dental health and how friendly doctors will help your kid maintain healthy gums and teeth.

  • Refrain from giving or promising rewards upon going to the dentist.
Dental fear is indeed a common problem in the Philippines, but it doesn’t have to remain that way. You as a parent have the responsibility to ease your children’s fear of the dentists. By knowing the roots of their anxiety and consulting a pediatric dentist, these should help you understand the issue better and help your children overcome their fear.

james abram

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