Children are not little adults and we know it!
Every child is different, and they change constantly! Pediatric dentists are trained to be sensitive and be engaged with a child's social, emotional, and cognitive development. Most children respond well to simple methods to ensure a positive experience and build confidence for a lifetime of dental wellness.
Here are some easy, common methods to help guide a child through the dental experience:
This method of behavior guidance reinforces good behaviors through recognition, praise, and overall positive responses. In this method of behavior guidance, recognition of positive behaviors are rewarded.
This method of behavior shaping is used to introduce a child to new procedures. In this method of behavior guidance, a child is first told what to expect with developmentally-appropriate verbal explanations (tell). The child is then given a demonstration of the procedure in a non-threatening, controlled environment through visual, auditory, and other sensory effects (show). The last step is to perform the procedure (do). This is often combined with positive reinforcement.
Children respond to many forms of communication, not just through words. Non-verbal communication uses appropriate facial expressions, body language, and touch (example: high five) to help put a child at ease during their treatment.
Some children respond well to whispering, funny voices or singing, slow or fast talking, or firm tones. Not all children respond the same and we appreciate parental input about how your child best responds before utilizing voice control. Of course, funny voices and singing may be used at anytime to encourage laughter and are generally well accepted by most children.
We welcome parents to be present during treatment, but also recognize that some children do better without the parent present in the treatment area in some circumstances. We ask that you (as a parent) help decide whether or not you wish to remain with your child during treatment. This decision may change with the child's age and treatment needs. We do ask that a parent be present for checkups when oral hygiene instructions are being given that the parent will be responsible for performing on a daily basis. If your absence is requested for any reason, we will inform you in advance and discuss any concerns.
Nitrous oxide/oxygen analgesia:
The use of nitrous oxide/oxygen inhalation analgesia (i.e. "laughing gas") is a safe and effective means to reduce anxiety and increase effective communication between patient and dentist to create a positive dental experience. This option is commonly recommended for children that may have mild anxiety, hyperactive gag reflex, or may need extra assistance in cooperating for a longer visit. Your child will remain awake and will remember their experience and only works while the child breathes the treatment through their nose. This may not be appropriate for those children with higher levels of anxiety if used alone. Talk to the doctor about what is an appropriate choice for your child.