How Do I Prepare My Child for Dental Treatment?

Hey, we are parents too! At Kelowna Dental Centre, our number one goal is to treat your child the way you would want them to be treated. We want to give your kids the best possible experience because we know that if they enjoy coming to the dentist, they will be more likely to take good care of their teeth and develop healthy oral habits into adulthood.

It is an honour to be your trusted dental providers for your family and this is something that we do not take for granted. Many parents have questions about how we approach dental treatment, so hopefully, we can break it down for you here.

1. The cleaning or exam visit: Do I come into the operatory with my child?

Whether or not dental treatment is needed is often identified during a cleaning and checkup appointment or a specific exam. Parents are welcome to accompany their children into the operatory during these visits, but it is also not always necessary. Unless the child is too shy to even sit in the dental chair without help from mom or dad, the visit can often be more fun and efficient if the parent doesn’t stay for the whole visit. Since our office is very “open concept,” a lot of parents will come back to the operatory to get the child settled, but then say “Ok, I’ll be out in the waiting room if you need me!”

Remember, we want the clinician’s focus during the visit to be on your child, and the conversation often isn’t focused on them if the parent stays in the room.

“Are they going to get a needle!” (Hint: Not a great question to ask us right in front of your child)

If your child requires dental treatment and you have questions about specifics, we are happy to answer any questions that you may have. This can be either in an area of the clinic away from your child or on the phone before the treatment appointment. We can often make their treatment visit more seamless if they don’t know every intimate detail of what we are doing and how we plan on executing it.

Most children adapt very well to new surroundings and new things. Children are often at ease immediately upon entering the clinic because the staff at our office all love children and do an excellent job of highlighting the fun parts of the appointment and explaining our procedure in a kid-friendly and fun way. Parents try their best to prepare their children for the first visit, and although they mean well, parents can often dishearten their children based on the way they describe dental treatments to them. 

Parents often don’t know the particulars of the appointment and end up unintentionally highlighting the wrong things when describing dental procedures. Parents often say things like: “Don’t worry, it won’t hurt.” Children immediately think “Should I worry, is this going to hurt? Why would they say that?” “You are so BRAVE!” (again, most kids then think, “brave?” is something bad going to happen!?”)

2. Treatment day:

For many children, we recommend the use of Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) during their dental procedures. Nitrous Oxide is a safe, effective form of minimal sedation that patients inhale through their nose during dental treatment. Nitrous Oxide is paired with oxygen during administration and when titrated to an effective level, it will give the patient the feeling of a warm hug during their procedure.

“Should I come to the operatory with my child or stay in the waiting room?” When parents are in the operatory during dental procedures, this can also have a negative effect on the child’s experience. Parents often feel that when they stay in the room for their child’s visit, they are being supportive. Sometimes the child will then be focused on mum or dad rather than just relaxing back in the chair and allowing us to guide their experience. Most visits are more efficient and seamless for the patient if we can just have a two-way interaction between the dentist and the patient. We want your child to be our number 1 priority during the visit!

3. Referral to a Pediatric Dental Specialist

In certain instances, we will recommend that your child be seen by a pediatric dental specialist for dental treatment. We work closely with several incredible specialists in the Okanagan to deliver the best treatment possible for your child. Ultimately, if we feel that your child’s experience would be better with the adjunct of their additional services, we will recommend this to you.

In closing, we love seeing kids at Kelowna Dental Centre. Dental treatments can be really fun and exciting for your child and we understand that you can have many questions, we are parents too! When explaining dental treatment to your children, try to use really positive and fun descriptions and leave the rest to us. If you struggle with finding positive ways to describe the dental treatment, it is probably best to let us describe the treatment to your child instead. Remember, most kids really enjoy their dental visits at our office! There are a lot of gadgety things that they don’t normally get to see, and the entire appointment is about them and only them!

At Kelowna Dental Centre, our #1 priority is to provide excellent care and give them the best possible experience. We try to make our patients feel at ease in the dental chair regardless of their age, and we will do everything possible to let them have a great experience when they come to see us!

Jennifer Drever, DDS
General Dentist
Kelowna Dental Centre

Source: Kelowna Dental Center