Many children are afraid of the dentist. The unfamiliar sights, sounds, and smells can all be alarming to nervous kids. Unfortunately, this means that it can be a real ordeal when your child needs to have a cavity filled. Here are four tips you can use to help your child through their first dental filling:
1. Make an appointment with a pediatric dentist.
Pediatric dentists have a wealth of experience dealing with children. Children have different needs from adults, both physically and emotionally. A pediatric dentist office will have tools that are specifically made to fit into small mouths, which means less discomfort for your child. Exam rooms are often decorated in a child-friendly manner as well, with fun colors, toys, and other great things to distract children.
2. Ask the dentist to explain the procedure.
Anticipation can be the worst part of having a cavity filled. Since it's your child's first filling, they won't know what to expect, and they might imagine terrible scenarios. You can ease their mind by asking your pediatric dentist to explain the procedure to your child. It can make the experience less scary if the dentist narrates what they're doing as they work. It can give your child a sense of control over the situation.
3. Offer your child music.
Your child might prefer a distraction during the cavity filling. If your child has an MP3 player, suggest that they listen to music during their dentist appointment. The familiar sounds of favorite songs can get your child's mind off the filling and help them relax. Some dentist offices even have MP3 players that your child can borrow for the duration of their appointment.
4. Give your child a treat once it's over.
Sometimes positive reinforcement is the best way to help your child. After you finish at the dentist's office, take your child to get a small treat. A new toy or book is a great way to reward them for being so brave at the dentist's office. Just stay away from giving cookies or sweets, since your child's mouth may still be numb for a short time after their dental procedure.
Pediatric dentistry is a great way to help your child get comfortable at the dentist's office. Taking the time to soothe your child's anxiety now can pay off in the long run. Children who aren't afraid of going to the dentist are more likely to grow into adults with healthy teeth.