Pediatric dentists and the dental team are qualified to meet the dental needs of infants, toddlers, school-age children, and adolescents.
First visits can be stressful for parents, especially for parents who have dental phobias themselves. It is imperative for parents to continually communicate positive messages about dental visits (especially the first one), and to help the child feel as happy as possible about visiting the dentist
Parents should take children to see a pediatric dentist for the following reasons:
To discover how to begin a “no tears” oral care program
To find out how to implement oral injury prevention strategies
To find out whether the child is at risk for developing caries (cavities)
To receive information about unwanted oral habits (e.g., finger-sucking, etc.)
To receive preventative treatments
To receive reports about how the child’s teeth and jaws are growing and developing
How can I prepare for my child’s dental visit?
Pediatric dentists and the dental team aim to make the child feel as welcome as possible during all visits. There are several things parents can do to make the first visit enjoyable. Some helpful tips are listed below:
Take another adult along for the visit – Sometimes infants become fussy when having their mouths examined. Having another adult along to soothe the infant allows the parent to ask questions and to attend to any advice the dentist may have.
Leave other children at home – Other children can distract the parent and cause the infant to fuss. Leaving other children at home (when possible) makes the visit less stressful for all concerned.
Avoid threatening language – Pediatric dentists and the dental team are trained to avoid the use of threatening language. It is imperative for parents to use positive language when speaking about dental treatment with their child. Please support us by NOT USING negative words often used in dental care:
needle or shot
sleepy juice /water
drill the tooth clean the
pull or yank
decay or cavity sugar bug
exam count teeth
tooth cleaning tickle teeth
rubber dam raincoat
Provide positive explanations – It is important to explain the purposes of the dental visit in a positive way. Explaining that the dentist “helps to keep teeth healthy” is far better than explaining that the dentist “is checking for tooth decay, and may have to drill the tooth if decay is found.”
Explain what will happen – Anxiety can be vastly reduced if the child knows what to expect. Age-appropriate books about visiting the dentist can be very helpful in making the visit seem fun. Here is a list of parent and dentist-approved books:
· The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist – by Stan and Jan Berenstain.
· Show Me Your Smile: A Visit to the Dentist – Part of the “Dora the Explorer”
· Going to the Dentist – by Anne Civardi.
· Elmo Visits the Dentist – Part of the “Sesame Street” Series.
The overwhelming fear of dental appointments can be a common cause of anxiety. The comfort, relaxation and happiness of the patient are embedded deep at the heart of any good dental practice. Our staff will do whatever they can to reduce anxiety, calm fears and provide painless, quick treatments.
Here is a list of some of the most common dental fears:
· Fear of embarrassment about the condition of teeth.
· Fear of gagging.
· Fear of injections.
· Fear of loss of control.
· Fear of not becoming numb.
· Fear of pain.
· Fear of the dentist as a person.
· Fear of the hand piece (or the drill).
How can one overcome dental anxiety?
Dental anxiety and fear can become completely overwhelming. It is estimated that as many as 35 million people do not visit the dental office at all because they are too afraid. Receiving regular dental check ups and cleanings is incredibly important. Having regular routine check ups is the easiest way to maintain excellent oral hygiene and reduce the need for more complex treatments.
Here are some tips to help reduce dental fear and anxiety:
Talk to the dentist – The dentist is not a mind reader. Though it can be hard to talk about irrational fears with a stranger, the dentist can take extra precautions during visits if fears and anxiety are communicated.
Bring a portable music player – Music acts as a relaxant and also drowns out any fear-producing noises. Listening to calming music throughout the appointment will help to reduce anxiety.
Agree on a signal – Many people are afraid that the dentist will not know they are in significant pain during the appointment, and will carry on the procedure regardless. The best way to solve this problem is to agree on a “stop” hand signal with the dentist. Both parties can easily understand signals like raising the hand or tapping on the chair.
Take a mirror – Not being able to see what is happening can increase anxiety and make the imagination run wild. Watching the procedure can help keep reality at the forefront of the mind.
Sedation – If there is no other way to cope, we offer nitrous oxide as sedation option in our office. Relaxation is achieved, and your child is awake throughout the procedure and regains their faculties before leaving our office.