Going to the dentist is scary, even sometimes for grownups. In fact, dental fear is really common. We work hard at Soul Dental Kids to give our patients great dental experiences from their very first visit. Our hope is that they never develop dental fear at all. But, as fellow parents and humans, we know fear isn’t always preventable or rational. Our best efforts can’t keep every patient from feeling scared, especially for big procedures.
If you think your child may need some extra support, please let us know. Likewise, if they have an especially sensitive gag reflex or other medical needs. We will come up with a solution together that takes care of them!
The Pre-Visit Visit
Many children, especially those with a slow-to-warm-up disposition, are so much more comfortable in any situation when they know what to expect. You might notice that your child watches the other kids at the playground for a good while before joining them to play, or takes a few months to come out of their shell in a new class or play group.
For them, and for any other kiddo, we encourage parents to bring them by before their first appointment. We’ll be so happy to introduce ourselves and show them around. They can see an exam room, and we can even talk with them a little about what is going to happen at their appointment, what tools we’ll use, and what it will feel like.
The pre-visit visit experience gives kids a chance to process what it will mean to go to the dentist before they go to the dentist. When they come for their appointment, they’re already acquainted with us, familiar with our office, and more confident. This can prevent overwhelm and truly make the difference between a fearful experience and a pleasant one.
Alternatively, if you yourself would like a pre-visit visit to discuss any questions or concerns you have with the doctor, we can arrange a virtual visit prior to your in-person, new-patient visit.
Nitrous Oxide (N2O)
Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is a safe and easy-to-administer inhalation method for managing pain and anxiety during dental treatments. N2O is available to our pediatric patients for even minor treatments like fillings. Children with special medical needs may also benefit from this measure of support to help them sit for a cleaning and exam.
IV sedation is typically employed for major and lengthy procedures, such as multiple extractions, for example. Not to be confused with general anesthesia, it does not render the patient unconscious. Rather, it is an IV administered sedative medication that causes a semi-conscious state.
Is IV Sedation Safe for Children?
Yes. The sedation medication we administer has been in pediatric use for decades and is well established as safe. Its effects do last longer than nitrous oxide, however, so your child will need to be on bed or couch rest for the remainder of the day. We recommend supervising them closely and assisting them anytime they get up so they don’t fall and get hurt.
Other Ways to Help Your Child Prepare for Their Dentist Appointment
In addition to the support measures we offer, there are a few things you can do to help your anxious little buddy prepare for their dentist appointment:
- Bring a lovey or other security item (favorite blanket, doll, etc.).
- Keep the conversation going about their upcoming appointment so they have time to mentally prepare.
- Give them something to look forward to after their appointment—ice cream, a toy purchase, or a movie for example.
- Stay calm and upbeat yourself since they’ll pick up on your energy.
If you have any questions at all about how to help your child deal with dental fear or anxiety, please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask us. We’d love the chance to make your kiddo’s dental experiences positive and fun!