4 Tips To Help Your Child Through Their First Cavity Treatment
You hope that your child will never have to experience tooth decay. Unfortunately, most people get a cavity at least once during their lives. If your child's dentist has performed an x-ray and found evidence of a cavity, they will have to clean out the decay and place a filling. Here are four tips you can use to help your child through their first cavity treatment:
1. Explain the reason for the procedure.
Having a cavity filled isn't a fun experience, and kids may want to know why it's necessary. Explain the procedure to your child if they're curious. You can let them know that their dentist is removing harmful bacteria and filling the hole left in their teeth by decay. This protects the nerve and root of their tooth beneath the enamel.
2. Reassure your child.
Dental anxiety is incredibly common, especially in children. Your child may be nervous about getting a tooth drilled, or they may be nervous about the anesthetic shots their dentist will administer beforehand. Remind your child that, thanks to these shots, they shouldn't feel any pain during the procedure. Let them know that getting a cavity filled usually takes less than an hour, and maybe plan a fun activity to do together after their appointment.
3. Take your child to a pediatric dentist.
Pediatric dentists specialize in treating children. They're more patient with little kids, who can sometimes be difficult to treat due to anxiety. An experienced pediatric dentist will be able to perform your child's cavity filling as gently as possible. Some even have toys in their office to distract your child during the procedure. Being able to hold a stuffed animal during dental treatment can be very soothing for some children.
4. Consider sedation for very nervous children.
A little bit of anxiety before a dental appointment is normal, but excessive anxiety can be very upsetting to children, and it could reinforce dental phobias that can affect them for life. In cases of extreme anxiety, sedation is a viable option. Nitrous oxide is a mild sedative that's sometimes called laughing gas. It's very safe and effective, and it can be used to treat children. Your child's dentist will place a mask over their nose, which will pump a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen into their nose. This will make them feel more relaxed and calm as the dentist treats their cavity.