As a parent, it’s your job to make your child feel safe – but it’s also your job to keep them healthy. It’s not uncommon for children to feel nervous about going to the dentist. It’s normal for children to be uncomfortable with strangers poking around the inside of their mouth while they lay still on a chair. In fact, 15 percent of American adults avoid going to the dentist due to fear or anxiety.
Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry has tips to help ease your child’s nerves about an upcoming pediatric dentist appointment.
Come in for a visit
Bring your child into the pediatric dentist office before the appointment. This visit allows them to become more familiar with the office and the staff, and makes the appointment less scary. The visit does not have to be long, but just enough time for your child to be able to remember us in the future.
Explain what happens during a dentist appointment
Before your child’s appointment at Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry, take time to sit down with them and explain what a dental exam is. Discuss and explain what the doctors will say and so, as well as what is expected of them as a patient. This discussion will eliminate any mystery about the appointment and put nerves at ease. If you’re not sure what exactly your child will experience at their exam, feel free to reach out to us and we can tell you what you need to know!
Feeling comfortable at the dentist’s office
Even with the right preparation, your child may still face dental anxiety once they get in the chair at the pediatric dentist’s office. Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry shares tips and tricks from our doctors they use to make your children less anxious.
How Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry Doctors Help Kids Relax
We asked each of our doctors here at Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry how they help kids relax and not feel scared while they’re in the chair.
Dr. David Moore says, “I think the first trick that I was taught continues to be the most effective and that is to Tell, Show, Do. Through it, we are guiding and teaching the child how to experience dentistry in a very supportive environment. Today, we have movies playing on screens above the dental chairs and headphones with the movie’s sound playing in the patient’s ears. This combination serves to distract the children and reduces the sounds that can potentially be frightening to them.”
Distraction is Dr. Cecilia Hwang’s strategy. “Children love stories, especially when they are made up with crazy details.” She explains, “In pediatric dentistry, it’s all about explaining things in terms that kids can relate to, even if they make no sense to grown-ups.”
Dr. Kim Putney keeps it simple! To help children feel at ease at the pediatric dentist, she says to, “talk about something they LOVE!”
According to Dr. Logan Webb, it’s best to talk to kids in a way that they will understand and feel comfortable.
Dr. Carrie Dunlap says, “kids want to know what is going on when they are in the dental chair. I explain things to them step-by-step while I am completing a procedure. I find out each child’s unique interests and go from there. If they like a certain princess like Elsa, then they get an ‘Elsa tooth’ that day. The toothbrush ‘races’ on their teeth, like Lightning McQueen, to make it shiny. If they’re a Batman fan, they get a ‘Batman tooth.’ When giving local anesthetic, I tell them we are using ‘sleepy juice’ to put their tooth to sleep, and they may even hear their tooth ‘snore.’ If I need a longer distraction, I tell the story of Pete the Cat. It’s a fantastic children’s book where Pete’s shoes change color depending on what he steps in. I tell the child what Pete stepped in and they will guess what color his shoes turned.”
Dr. Cami Miskovich also likes to tell stories to her nervous patients. “ I tell them a story of a yucky Sugar Bug that made a home in their tooth and how Mr. Whistle and Ms. Thirsty will help me catch the Sugar Bug and send him to ‘Sugar Bug Jail.’ That usually gets a child’s attention and eases their fears.”
With his anxious patients, Dr. Nate Shaw says “it is important to use language that kids understand and find comforting. I like to take my time showing and explaining what we’re going to do ahead of time so there are no scary surprises. It also definitely helps having a TV above the chairs for them to watch!”
Don’t let your child’s dental anxiety get in the way of their health and dental hygiene. Contact Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry today to schedule an appointment.