what not to say to your child before going to the dentist

What NOT to Say to Your Child Before Going to the Dentist

When I first started my Instagram page under drtonidds, I did a short series on what not to say to your child. I have heard some interesting things parents say to their children and I thought it would be helpful for the parents as well as other dentists.

I was talking to my best friend and she thought the series was hilarious. The funny thing is this happens in real life! I have witnessed parents (and siblings) telling kids these things on more than one occasion.

These are the top four things that I have heard in my days of working with the kiddos.

“The dentist is going to use a really big needle and give you a shot!”

On behalf of all of the dentist that enjoy seeing kids … Please do not say this to your child!

I understand some parents believe that you should tell your child the truth and not sugar coat. This is not the way to do it!

There is certain vocabulary that we use in the dental office that informs the child of what we are doing without scaring them out of the chair.

If your child has to get some type of dental treatment that requires local anesthesia (“a shot”), try saying “the dentist is going to get your teeth sleepy” or “the dentist is going to use sleepy juice to get your teeth to fall asleep.”


“The dentist is going to pull all of your teeth out!”

Parents I understand sometimes you want to get your child’s attention and get them to stop certain annoying behaviors. Please do not use the dentist as a scare tactic.

If your child is getting a tooth extracted, tell your child the dentist is going to “wiggle” the tooth out not yank or pull.

Please, please, please parents do not sit in the room with your child and ask the dentist “now you’re going to give her the shot” or “now you’re going to pull the tooth out.” Things usually don’t go well once your child hears you say that.

Try telling your child the dentist is going to wiggle your tooth vs going to pull it out Click To Tweet

“It’s okay. I hate the dentist too.”

This always hurts my feelings! LOL.

Seriously, I know that most adults would rather be somewhere else than in the dental chair, but do not push your feelings on to your kids.

Going to the dentist should not be punishment for your child. We want to build a positive experience so that they will be so familiar with the dentist and that going to the dentist is note a big deal.


“Everything is going to be okay” (Especially when they have cavities)

Parents the best way to handle going to the dentist is keeping it simple. When you try to explain too much you raise more questions that usually produces unnecessary anxiety.

Avoiding telling your child everything will be fine because if your child needs treatment your child may end up losing trust in me and you.

There you have it.  the top four things I have heard at the office that parents should avoid saying.

I know you have heard parents tell their kids some interesting things before or during their dental visit. Leave a comment below and share with me what you have heard.

With lots of love,
Dr Toni