How to Survive Your Child’s First Filling:
For some parents bringing your child to the dentist twice a year can feel a bit like “rolling the dice”. Maybe you were very diligent about brushing and flossing with your child for a month or so after the last visit, and then you fell off the wagon. As a parent, this can be quite stressful. The last words you want to hear from your child’s dentist are “We found a cavity”.
When this happens, the first instinct for a parent is to feel guilty. Your mind may start to wonder what you could have done differently to prevent this from happening. The best advice we can give you at this point is to take a deep breath and relax. Of course there are ways to help prevent cavities, but sometimes even with proper brushing, flossing and fluoride rinses at home, children can still get cavities. Cavities not only can be caused by lack of daily hygiene, but also by diet, the shape of the teeth and the general chemistry and bacteria in each individuals mouth. Some of these are things that are out of our control. That is why we stress having a daily routine of the things we can control, like brushing two times a day, flossing and using a fluoride rinse.
It is very important when you receive news that your child has cavities to stay calm, confident and positive. The last thing you want to do is use the experience in terms of pain or punishment. For example, saying to your child, “You don’t brush your teeth and now you need to get a filling at the dentist”. Parents also shouldn’t over-provide information. Informing your child with too many details of the appointment can cause your child to be anxious. The words shot, pain or drilling aren’t comforting to anyone and should not be used to describe the appointment. Instead, provide your child with very basic information, like “The dentist is going to clean the sugar bugs out of your teeth” or “We are going to clean your sick tooth to make it healthy”.
When it comes time for the appointment, we encourage the parent to be calm so that the child stays calm as well. Sometimes we also encourage the parent to stay in the waiting room and let the child be independent for the appointment, which in turn encourages bravery in the child.
After the appointment, some children are irritated by that “numb feeling”. The best thing to do is to reassure them that the feeling will come back soon, and make sure they don’t hurt themselves by biting, scratching or sucking on their lip, cheek or tongue while they are still numb.
Here are Children’s Dentistry Group, we want all of your child’s experiences to be positive ones, and will go the extra mile to make every patient comfortable. As a parent, if you have any additional questions or concerns regarding restorative (filling) appointments, please feel free to contact our office.