You have heard the usual tips for good children’s oral health: brush your teeth twice daily, floss, use fluoride, avoid sugar, etc. These are common practices are to encourage good oral health. But what happens when dental care is neglected? What if a child takes good care of his/her teeth, but develops cavities or gingivitis anyway? If a dental procedure requiring sedation is necessary, parents will want to prepare the child for their dental visit.
PREPARING A CHILD FOR A DENTAL VISIT
The most important step when preparing a child for any type of dental work involves easing anxiety and explaining what to expect. Following these suggestions will help your child feel more confident and relaxed at their dental visit.
1. Speak with the dentist about the extent of the dental problem, the patient’s age, and the affected teeth. Ask what procedures are recommended both for the short term as well as for the long-term treatment plan. By discussing treatment options, parents will be better able to explain the process to a child in a way s/he can comprehend.
2. Convey the information to your child. In general, it is best to give a brief overview of the procedure. Do so using friendly terms. For example, fillings might be referred to as “silver stars” and anesthesia could be called “silly gas.” Using these terms can help make a procedure less scary.
3. Answer any questions your child might have. At this point, it is crucial to answer honestly and to the best of your ability. Let them know if anesthesia or sedation is required, how they might feel during and after the work is done. By eliminating the unknown, children are put more at ease.
4. Consider the ultimate treatment plan. Children’s oral health is influenced by a wide array of factors, including dental history, overall well-being, living conditions, susceptibility to dental problems, etc.
5. Management of anxiety is the main reason for use of sedation. Be aware that a parent’s or care giver’s anxiety can transfer to the child. This then adds to the burden that a child has to deal with. Ask and follow the dentist’s suggestions regarding how to manage your own anxiety.
We love to see kids! Give us a call at 519-305-9100 and we’d be happy to schedule an appointment for your little one.