Q. How does a pediatric dentist help with dental anxiety?
A. Pediatric dentists have special training which helps anxious children feel secure during dental treatment. Pediatric offices are designed just for children. Staff members choose to work in a pediatric dental practice because they love kids. Most children are calm, comfortable and confident in a children’s dental office.They feel at home in a child-friendly environment.
Q. How will a pediatric dentist help my child feel comfortable?
A. Pediatric dentists are trained in many methods to help children feel comfortable with dental treatment. For example, in the “Tell-Show-Do” technique, a pediatric dentist might name a dental instrument, demonstrate the instrument by using it to count your child’s fingers, and then apply the instrument in treatment.
The modeling technique pairs a timid child in dental treatment with a cooperative child of similar age. Coaching, distraction, and parent participation are other ways to give your child confidence in dentistry, but by far the most preferred technique is praise.
Q. Should I accompany my child into treatment?
A. Infants and some young children may feel more confident when parents stay close during treatment. We welcome you into the treatment area for initial examinations. With older children, doctor-child communication is often enhanced if parents remain in the reception room.
Q. What if a child misbehaves during treatment?
A. Occasionally a child’s behavior during treatment requires assertive management to protect him or her from possible injury. Voice control (speaking calmly but firmly) or gentle restraint of the arms or legs assist in the completion of treatment.
Mild sedation, such as nitrous oxide/oxygen or a sedative, may benefit an anxious child. If a child is especially fearful or requires extensive treatment, other sedative techniques or general anesthesia may be recommended.
Q. What can I do to prevent cavities in my child?
A. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises the following steps:
- Brush at least twice a day beginning when teeth come in (especially after meals/snacks/juice/milk and before bedtime);
- Floss your child’s teeth once a day (extra well for teeth that touch);
- Eat a well balanced diet and limit juice and snacks, eliminate gum with sugar, soft drinks, and taffy-like candy;
- Visit your pediatric dentist or general dentist regularly beginning with an initial exam by 12 months of age;
- Get fluoride via drinking water, fluoride products or supplements;
- Apply sealants to the chewing surfaces of permanent back teeth or molars as soon as they come in; also,
- Remember to prevent sports injuries by wearing mouth guards.