Dental Fears… Passed on by Parents

You’re sitting in the waiting room with your child. The dental assistant comes out and calls your child’s name. As you and your child stand up and start heading towards the operatory, the dental assistant gently touches your shoulder and tells you “Your child is in good hands, have a seat, we will bring him/her back when we are done.” Your eyes are full of fear, but you sit back down and wait. Have you ever wondered why? One reason is that children tend to misbehave more when parents are in the room, another reason may be that you, the parent, fears the dentist yourself.

New studies show that the fear of the dentist in mothers and fathers is normally passed down to their children.  Previous studies have linked the fear of the dentist to the patient’s parents, but they have never connected who plays a bigger role in this fear, the mother or the father.

More recent studies prove that the father plays a bigger role in these fears. It appears that children tend to pay more attention to the emotional reaction of their fathers than their mothers when deciding whether situations at the dentist are potentially stressful.

In order to prevent these fears of the dentists, it is important for parents to show their children that they feel at ease in the chair, do not show any signs of anxiety/stress. If you are a parent that avoids the dentist at all costs, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to find another adult, whether it be a grandparent, friend or older sibling to accompany your young one to the dentist.

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