Child Showing Fear Of Dentist

Dental Fear… Where Does it Come From?

Team General Dentistry

Children are not born with a fear of the dentist.  Research shows that parents, and other individuals, strongly influence how a child acquires fear. For example, if a parent, grandparent, sibling, or caregiver has had a bad dental experience, it is very possible that they will transmit apprehension and fear to a child when they are present during a dental visit.  This is unintentionally and natural, and can happen without any knowledge or desire to do so. This is why it is so important to embrace experiential learning— allow your child to have his or her own experience at our office. This is exactly why we work hard to make it a supportive, fun, and positive experience. 

As an adult, you may not look forward to your next visit for dental care but your child can! Your child can be excited and happy to visit our office and welcome it as a positive healthy, experience in their life.


First, personal experiences significantly influence your level of anxiety, especially if they occurred as a child.


The personality of a dentist dramatically alters the long-term impact of the experience. You, as a parent, probably have positive memories of your dentist if he/she was warm, caring, and compassionate, even if you experienced a complex procedure. But you may have long term anxiety from your childhood memories if he or she had a cold, uncaring demeanor. We understand the critical combination of treatment that’s gentle and comfortable with a chairside manner that’s empathetic to your child or teen’s experience. Regardless of age, you can expect exceptional chairside care that emphasizes the best experience in pediatric dentistry.


Second, unpleasant interactions in other healthcare settings can result in fear that is carried over to dentistry.


Some people develop anxiety from “hospital” smells or the appearance of sterile clinical clothing. Children receiving uncomfortable immunizations at their pediatrician or a clinic may expect the same in a dental office. That’s why have created a safe and warm environment that provides a clear contrast to other medical encounters. Many of our patients remark they never knew dentistry could be “so good!”


Third, nobody likes to feel like they’re out of control.


It’s not comfortable traveling down a ski hill without knowing how to brake, and it doesn’t feel any better in a dental office. Feeling that you are heard and We clearly understand your need to advocate for your child or that your child will express their feelings during their time with us. Knowing that we explain and respond to your concerns or suggestions gives families a piece of mind and dramatically quiets dental anxiety.


Fourth, if you’ve ever watched the dentist in Little Shop of Horrors it probably didn’t make you want to schedule your child’s next appointment right away!


Unrealistic media portrayals of dentistry or an unfortunate story communicated by a friend’s experience in another office can feed your own anxiety and even keep you away from vital dental care for your family. Starting with a comfortable initial visit in our office will help you counter the media…and the neighbor.

We understand the emotional reasons that sometimes keeps people away from critically needed dental care. While some are discussed above, you may have your own. 

We look forward to listening to your concerns, and helping you discover how our pediatric dental office treats families, not just teeth. 

Contact us today for further questions or to make your child’s appointment with “Dr. Jeff”.  Call 914-245-1670 or click here to schedule an appointment.