What’s the number one reason parents don’t take their kids to the pediatric dentist?
They’re nervous about how their child will react to the dentist. Right behind that is the fact that most people figure it isn’t too important to take care of baby teeth because they’ll fall out anyway. Read our blog on 5 fun tips to get your kids to brush if you’re having to fight with your child every day.
However, it is extremely important to take care of baby teeth and monitor the child’s overall oral development. And going to the dentist at a young age and having positive experiences is the best way to avoid developing a fear of the dentist.
Thankfully, dentists have a whole bag of tricks designed to help kids calm their fear and relax during their dental visit. Here are a few techniques Fulshear dentist Dr. Ruiz uses here at Rightway Dental.
1. Create a Kid-Friendly Environment
A dentist’s office doesn’t always feel the most welcoming to kids. The walls are usually a sterile white and the decor is sparse and professional.
That works for a typical dental office but isn’t as effective when you’re trying to appeal to kids. Pediatric dental clinics are usually decorated with happier colors and maybe a few cute animals or another motif on the walls.
Sitting in the waiting room is sometimes an area where tension about seeing the dentist can build. Dentists can help distract kids while they wait by providing a colorful children’s area with toys, books, and games.
The exam room itself should use calming colors like blue and green and create peaceful vibes. The dentist may even position a TV at a comfortable angle and provide a few kids’ shows to choose from.
2. Explain What’s Going On
Even if a child has been to the dentist before, they generally won’t know what to expect. Six months is a long time for a kid!
Dentists can help make the visit less stressful by explaining what they’re doing. Anyone would feel better when they understand more about what is happening to them.
3. Use Kid-Friendly Terms
Of course, getting too specific or technical might make kids more nervous. What kid wants to be told that the dentist is about to stab them with a little needle?
Thus, it’s a good idea to change things up and talk about dental techniques in a fresh, non-menacing way.
Which do you think a kid would prefer? A water sprayer or a squirt gun? How about a suction tool or a slurpy straw?
Obviously, the squirt gun and the slurpy straw are going to be much more fun. Katy pediatric dentist Dr. Ruiz likes to use terms like these rather than the technical or more “adult” terms she would use with older patients.
4. Anesthesia or Sedation
Gone are the days when dental patients just had to “suck it up” through the uncomfortable and painful parts of a dental visit. These days dentists, especially pediatric dentists, go to great lengths to make their patients feel comfortable and at ease during their visit.
Anesthesia is one oft-used technique. Local anesthetic dulls or numbs the pain so the dentist can work freely without causing their patient pain.
In some cases, anesthesia and the tips we’ve talked about so far may not be enough. If the child really can’t calm down and needs a dental procedure, the dentist can use sedation.
But sedation dentistry is the last resort and it is not very common to use with children.
Be Careful How You Talk About the Dentist
There are lots of strange little tools at the dentist’s office, but kids don’t have to be scared of them. A lot of their fear comes from hearing negative things about the dentist.
Don’t talk about going to the dentist like it’s a bad thing. But don’t be over-positive about it either. Kids might pick up on it and wonder why you’re trying so hard to convince them that everything will be okay. This gives them the idea there must be something to be upset about.
Ready to Polish Your Kids’ Smile?
Looking for the best panhandle pediatric dentist to see your child? Look no further! Dr. Tasha Ruiz’s warm, friendly, demeanor helps put all her patients at ease — regardless of their age.