The first step in getting kids comfortable with dentists is discussing why they need to go. Explain that dentists need to make sure their teeth are healthy and clean. Let them play with a toy kit of dental instruments as you emphasize the "coolness" of the tools, rather than the scariness.
Role Play With a Dentist Kit
After the tooth talk, take turns playing dentist with a dentist kit. Kids and parents can take turns playing the role of dentist and patient. Playing out each role can help your children associate happy feelings with the dentist. Familiarization can help to alleviate your kid's fear of the dentist.
Online Interactive Dental Games
Some toothpaste companies provide online interactive sections for kids with games and activities that help teach them about the dentist and tooth care. Exploring these with your kids can further familiarize them with the dentist and help to alleviate their fears.
Dental Coloring Book
Kids love to color. Why not allow them to color a dental coloring book? The pictures will show them what may happen, and some dental coloring books even have a story to read. Many websites also have free dental coloring pages that are printable.
Remember, to a child, dentists may be perceived as strangers with scary tools. To alleviate your child's fear of the dentist, familiarize your child with common dental tools and what they are for.
If your child has a friend or sibling that has already been to the dentist, let that child explain to yours how fun the visit was. Sometimes hearing it from another kid can help alleviate your kid's fear of the dentist.
Talk to the dentist about your kid's fear. Sometimes they have helpful tips and may also have ways to calm the child during the visit. Many dentists will even give the kids a special signal they can use that means stop. When the kid uses this signal, the dentist will know that he or she is uncomfortable and will stop for a minute to allow the child to relax.