Child-friendly distractions during dental procedures
One of the best ways to make your child's dental treatments easier is to distract them during the appointment.
Start a conversation with your child about their favorite subject, whether it's movies, sports, or cartoons. Ask them about their most recent favorite TV show or their favorite sport. Ask them about the school, or tell them about your day.
Bring along their portable gaming device, whether it is a smartphone or a tablet, and allow them to play games while they're in the dentist's chair. This may help distract them while also allowing them to enjoy their favorite hobby.
Consider purchasing a pair of headphones that your child can wear while they're in the dentist's chair. This can help your child block out all of the noises, which may make your child more comfortable while the dental work is done.
Tips for your child's first dental visit
Having a great relationship with your dentist is also key. Look for a provider with whom your children feel comfortable and at ease. This will decrease the chances of your child feeling anxious or afraid during a dental visit. Also, look for a dental care team that makes your child's comfort a priority. Here are a few tips on how to make dental visits comfortable for your child.
- Talk about it: Let your child know that a dental visit is not scary. Talk about what the visit will be like, and go over any symptoms or concerns your child may have.
- Explain what will happen: Tell your child that the dentist will look inside his or her mouth to find any cavities or other problems. Explain that the dentist will gently clean the teeth with a special toothbrush.
- Explain what your dentist will look for: Let your child know that the dentist will count all the teeth and make sure the teeth are growing straight.
Explaining dental treatments to kids
Every parent wants their child to have a healthy smile. In fact, some parents go to great lengths to ensure their kids' teeth are as healthy as possible. However, even parents with the best intentions often fail to explain oral health to their children.
If a child never sees a dentist, they may not understand the importance of dental health. While trust is key for a dentist-patient relationship, it's also important that children understand why cavities, gum disease, and other oral health problems occur.
Even if your child seems okay with going to the dentist, it's normal to have some nerves. The dentist's office can be a scary place, especially for young children. The best way to combat this anxiety is to prepare your child for the dentist's office ahead of time. Here are a few suggestions:
- Read books or show them videos about visiting the dentist that can explain the dental visit in kid-friendly language and images.
- Find a dentist that specifically treats children. They will have experience calming children's fears.
- Tell your child what to expect in a friendly, positive manner. Let them know that the dentist will count their teeth and look at their teeth. The dentist will also show and count their teeth in the mirror.
Sedation dentistry for kids
When your child needs dental work, sedation dentistry can be a great option. Options include nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and oral conscious sedation. Nitrous oxide can help your child feel relaxed and at ease. Oral sedation can help your child feel completely calm. During either type of sedation, your child will still be awake and able to respond to the dentist.
Dental Care for children with special needs
Children with special health care needs (CSHCN), such as autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, or developmental delays, may require certain accommodations. This can be especially true for procedures like fillings, which can be difficult for children. This can make preventive dentistry, including regular dental checkups, more difficult than usual.
Children with special needs often experience special dental needs. In some cases, it may be necessary to treat children who have special needs under general anesthesia. This is because children with special needs may need special care during their dental treatment. Sedation dentistry allows the dentist to closely monitor the patient's vital signs while they are under sedation.