An impending restorative dental procedure, like having fillings or crowns placed or having tissue removed during an extraction, gingivectomy, or pulpotomy can cause anyone to feel anxious, especially children. While there is nothing to fear about restorative dentistry, many children seem to struggle with nervousness prior to a procedure. It’s natural to want to ease your child’s feelings so that they don’t develop a fear of the dentist or an aversion to oral hygiene, which is why we at Smile Cove Pediatric Dental have put together this list of helpful ways to make you and your child feel prepared for a restorative dentistry appointment.
Our first piece of advice is for you, the parent, to stay positive. Children are remarkably adept at picking up emotional cues, so seeing that you are unafraid and even enthusiastic about their upcoming procedure can help them feel the same. It’s also helpful to share stories about your own positive experiences at the dentist to help them associate going with good things. You should avoid talking about uncomfortable, painful, or unsatisfactory experiences and encourage your loved ones to avoid sharing them as well.
Another thing that will help your child feel prepared for their dental procedure is explaining what will happen before they get there. Sometimes, the scariest thing about going to the dentist for a child is feeling like they don’t know what will happen. Your dentist can help explain the basics of any procedure in a way that is easy to understand and does not inspire fear. You can also look for child-friendly books or educational videos on restorative dentistry that you and your child can look at together.
The final suggestion we have is to make going to the dentist a special event with positive reinforcement attached to it. Some parents like to make an entire day out of it, going to do fun activities before or afterward and spending quality time with their child, while others find it most effective to reward their children with something they have asked for. You can try out a few options to see what your child responds best to. The key is to create a feeling of fun about visiting the dentist and reinforce good behavior while they are there.