Does your child refuse to open her mouth or throw tantrums at the dentist's office? Or, does she cower at the mention of the dentist's name? Going to the dentist can be a stressful event for both parent and child, especially when your little one suffers from dental anxiety. But if you think fear of the dentist is something your child will outgrow, think again—dental anxiety isn't always left behind in childhood along with midday naps and bedtime stories. In fact, dental anxiety affects 10 to 20 percent of adults in the U.S. Given that childhood is considered the "core risk phase" for thedevelopment of anxietydisorders, it appears that dental fears and phobias are no exception.1

Why are Kids Afraid of the Dentist?


So why are some children more anxious than others before a visit to the dentist? Research says that age and gender can have something to do with it. Dental anxiety was found to be more common in younger children, as well as among girls—not surprising given that女性患有任何焦虑症的误操作2:1。个性也可以发挥作用;对牙医的恐惧更接近害羞,抑制特征。3

Dental anxiety in children can also result from bad experiences.4Researchers from the U.K. found that the way dental staff members treat and interact with your child can be a key influence on the amount of anxiety your child experiences during an appointment.5Punishment, restraining, and yelling by dental staff members is a surefire way to cause tantrums and fits during a regular cleaning. On the contrary, friendly receptionists and encouraging dentists, however, were found to reduce anxiety and increase cooperation in child patients.

Tips for Making Friends with the Dentist

Whether your child is screaming bloody murder at the receptionist or just seems a little shaky sliding into that dental chair, a stress-free dentist appointment is an experience most parents would like to achieve. As an anxiety specialist, I've collected a few tips that my patients and I have used successfully to take the dread out of going to the dentist.

  1. 找到良好的员工和一个温柔的牙医的牙科练习:It doesn't have to be a specialty pediatric practice – dental staff with warmth and a good sense of humor can be found anywhere. Dental offices that restrain, criticize, or belittle your child should be avoided.
  2. Model positive attitudes towards dentistry:If you complain and whine before and after your own appointments, what message does that send your child? On the other hand, treating your own visits to the dentist like they are a party – with the dentist as your bestie – sends a very different message.
  3. Warm them up to the idea:任何新体验都可以脱离困车。同上陌生的环境。如果您的孩子倾向于焦虑,请在她自己的约会之前对牙科的奇妙奇妙熟悉的是一个好主意。让孩子观察自己的清洁意味着她有机会看到自己的办公室看起来像是什么样的内心。记住:你正在建模平静,快乐的行为。
  4. Use visuals and incorporate play:观看(热情)儿童在牙医的互联网视频,然后将您的孩子参与假装参加牙医的戏剧将在第一次预约之前预先审视经验。
  5. Motivate and reward:Setting up a reward in advance can help motivate your child to display brave, cooperative behaviors at the dentist. This should ideally be a positive experience that can directly follow the appointment and it should be awarded for specific behaviors – staying seated in the chair, following dentist's directions – rather than "not being anxious."
  6. 保持冷静:最后,如果你的孩子确实变得过于焦虑,那就保持冷静。只是因为她害怕并不意味着你必须是。保持乐观。容忍你孩子的痛苦。在她离开之前,温暖地坚持她在离开之前经历了成功,即使这个成功是一个小的。

这些提示应该在帮助你的孩子看到牙医那样少于一个敌人和更多朋友的尖端。但是,有时牙医椅子的高踢和尖叫可以呼吁更加重要的干预。如果你的孩子在牙医那么苦恼,那么她就会错过所需的护理 - 或者你让她避免或逃避它 - 访问治疗师认知行为治疗(CBT) will probably be helpful for both of you.


Katherine J. Gold, M.D., M.S.W., M.S.
liz matheis,ph.d.
Daniel Segenreich M.D.,博士。
Katherine K. Dahlsgaard,Ph.D.
Maisha M. Syeda, MSc.



1. Beesdo, K., Knappe, S., & Pine, D. (2009). Anxiety and anxiety disorders in children and adolescents: Developmental issues and implications for DSM-V.北美的精神病诊所,32,483-524。

2. Klingberg,G.,&Broberg,A.(2007)。儿童与青少年的牙齿恐惧/焦虑和牙科行为管理问题:患病率和伴随心理因素综述。国际小儿科牙科杂志,17391-406。


4. TOWNEND,E.,DIMIGEN,G.,&Fung,D。(2000)。儿童牙齿焦虑的临床研究。行为研究和治疗,38, 31-46.

5. Zhou, Y., Cameron, E., Forbes, G., & Humphris, G. (2011). Systematic review of the effect of dental staff behaviour on child dental patient anxiety and behaviour.Patient Education and Counseling, 85, 4-13.

Date of original publication:

Updated: August 26, 2016