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How Does a Pediatric Dentist Calm Down a Fearful Child?
It is normal for children to be a little fearful and anxious when visiting a pediatric dentist. This anxiety could be from general nervousness or the memory of previous experiences. No matter the reason, there are dentists who practice techniques and methods to help keep children calm and make the experience more comfortable for them.
Tips a pediatric dentist uses to calm patients
Parents know how a dental appointment can cause emotional stress in children, and the trick is finding a dentist who knows how to soothe those fears. Anxious children can squirm in the chair, scream or cry, all of which can make treatment difficult. However, there are a handful of things a pediatric dentist can do to help put children at ease during a visit.
1. A calm environment
Often, the first thing a dental office does is create a calm, stress-free and friendly environment. This starts at the front desk and waiting area. Furnishing a children's area with toys, games and child-friendly shows on the television can help keep children distracted while waiting for the dentist. The exam room should also have peaceful influences.
2. Kid-friendly language
Many times, a dentist may turn ordinary procedures into kid-friendly ones by changing the words. For example, instead of calling it a suction tool, the pediatric dentist may give it a cute name and say it is a slurpy straw. The water sprayer can also become a squirt gun. This helps keep children relaxed rather than nervous. It may even make children laugh and relax, which can make the treatment easier for everyone.
3. Clear explanations
Sometimes, the fear comes from not understanding what is about to happen. A good dentist can walk children through the steps of the appointment to reduce stress. Children are naturally curious, so explaining everything takes advantage of this curiosity and lets children ease into the appointment.
For example, the suction tool can make a loud and strange noise when placed in the mouth, but the pediatric dentist can explain how it works. Sometimes this means showing the child how it works with a cup of water to demonstrate how it is nothing to worry about.
4. Sedation and general anesthesia
As a last measure, sedation might be used. If none of the other methods work or a major procedure needs to be performed but the child is too anxious, sedation dentistry may be the most viable option. Child-friendly language can be used to call it sleepy juice or silly air depending on whether a shot or gas is used as the sedative.
However, smaller procedures and even cleanings can use general anesthesia. This can help children not experience any pain or discomfort. With this method, patients may not even sense the work performed, which can help them feel at ease.
Although dental anxiety is something many people deal with, a pediatric dentist can help children feel more comfortable during visits by using techniques that have their interests at heart. Keep these tips in mind during your child’s next visit or for when you are looking for a good dentist for children.
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