General Preparation for Checkups, Consultations and Initial Exams
Please help us make your child’s dental experience a pleasant one. You can explain to your child that we will count their teeth and brush their teeth. Please avoid negative language – words like “pick,” “needle,” “drill,” “fluoride,” “X-ray,” “examination light,” etc. These words may frighten your child. We prefer to use words such as tooth-counter, sleeping medicine, water whistle toothbrush, motor cycle toothbrush, tooth vitamins, pictures of teeth, sunshine etc. This is especially the case if you child has already had an unpleasant dental experience. If you are unsure of what to say, remember the saying “less is more.” Treat the visit as “no big deal.” Our staff is trained to explain everything to your child using age appropriate words which are easy for them to understand and are pleasant and non-frightening while conveying the same message. You can always answer their questions by saying, “I’m not sure, let’s ask the dentist."
Preparing Children for Non Check-up Treatment – Sealants, Fillings, Crowns, Extractions etc.
As you know, kids are pretty intelligent. They can sense when their parents are Anxious. Please be careful NOT to verbalize or show your fears because your children can feel this. The words “pain” or “hurt” are words that we do not use in our office.
If your child has questions prior to treatment, other than regular check-ups, try not to say too much – again “less is more.” Just as with check-ups our doctors and staff will be sure to explain everything to your child in words that are age appropriate and easy for them to understand.
There are certain words that can provoke fear. Examples of these negative types of words are those like “hurt”, “needle”, and “pain”. We try not to use these words in our practice at all. We list some alternative words at the bottom. Parents, siblings and friends tend to inadvertently use these words and unintentionally cause their children to become nervous or frightened.
Our staff is trained to use terminology that children can understand and that has a pleasant connotation. For example: we don’t have “drills” in our office, we have “water whistle toothbrushes”. They whistle and squirt water. Which would you rather have in your mouth? It all depends upon how it is presented. In addition, there are also many distractions such as music, videos playing on the flat screen TV’s, and stickers on the ceilings to find and count as prizes are won throughout the visit.
Never tell your child that they are getting a “shot”, otherwise we will never get them into our dental chair. Rest assured that we use topical anesthetic, behavior modification techniques and distraction so that most children don’t even realize that this is what they are getting.
Alternative Word List
Dental Chair = magic chair
Patient Napkin = bib or napkin
Examination Light = sunshine
Eye Protection = sunglasses
Mirror = baby tooth mirror
Pick or explorer = tooth counter
Air/Water Syringe = wind and water squirter
Suction small = Mr. thirsty, small vacuum
Suction Large = Vacuum
Prophy angle or electric tooth cleaner = tickle toothbrush
Tooth Polish = toothpaste
Floss = tooth string
Fluoride = tooth vitamins
X-rays = tooth pictures
Lead Shield = heavy blanket
Cavity = hole in tooth
Decay = germs or “sugar bugs”
Shot = Squirt
Numbing Medicine = Sleeping Medicine
Hi Speed Drill = water whistle toothbrush
Slow Speed Drill = Motor cycle or bumpy tooth brush
Curing Light = Magic Blue Light, Blue’s Clues Light, Light Saber
Triturater = Blender
Treatment Options for Your Child
Some children are given nitrous oxide/oxygen, or what you may know as laughing gas, to relax them for their dental treatment. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is a blend of two gases, oxygen and nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is given through a small breathing mask which is placed over the child’s nose, allowing them to relax, but without putting them to sleep. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, recognizes this technique as a very safe, effective technique to use for treating children’s dental needs. The gas is mild, easily taken, then with normal breathing, it is quickly eliminated from the body. It is non-addictive. While inhaling nitrous oxide/oxygen, your child remains fully conscious and keeps all natural reflexes.
Prior to your appointment:
- Please inform us of any change to your child’s health and/or medical condition.
- Tell us about any respiratory condition that makes breathing through the nose difficult for your child. It may limit the effectiveness of the nitrous oxide/oxygen.
- Let us know if your child is taking any medication on the day of the appointment.
Conscious Sedation is recommended for apprehensive children, very young children, and children with special needs. It is used to calm your child and to reduce the anxiety or discomfort associated with dental treatments. Your child may be quite drowsy, and may even fall asleep, but they will not become unconscious.
There are a variety of different medications, which can be used for conscious sedation. The doctor will prescribe the medication best suited for your child’s overall health and dental treatment recommendations. We will be happy to answer any questions you might have concerning the specific drugs we plan to give to your child.
Prior to your appointment:
- Please notify us of any change in your child’s health and/or medical condition. Do not bring your child for treatment with a fever, ear infection or cold. Should your child become ill, contact us to see if it is necessary to postpone the appointment.
- You must tell the doctor of any drugs that your child is currently taking and any drug reactions and/or change in medical history.
- Please dress your child in loose fitting, comfortable clothing.
- Please make sure that your child goes to the bathroom immediately prior to arriving at the office.
- Your child should not have solid food for at least 6 hours prior to their sedation appointment and only clear liquids for up to 4 hours before the appointment.
- The child’s parent or legal guardian must remain at the office during the complete procedure.
- Please watch your child closely while the medication is taking effect. Hold them in your lap or keep close to you. Do not let them “run around.”
- Your child will act drowsy and may become slightly excited at first.
After the sedation appointment:
- Your child will be drowsy and will need to be monitored very closely. Keep your child away from areas of potential harm.
- If your child wants to sleep, place them on their side with their chin up. Wake your child every hour and encourage them to have something to drink in order to prevent dehydration. At first it is best to give your child sips of clear liquids to prevent nausea. The first meal should be light and easily digestible.
- If your child vomits, help them bend over and turn their head to the side to insure that they do not inhale the vomit.
- Because we use local anesthetic to numb your child’s mouth during the procedure, your child may have the tendency to bite or chew their lips, cheeks, and/or tongue and/or rub and scratch their face after treatment. Please observe your child carefully to prevent any injury to these areas.
- Please call our office for any questions or concerns that you might have.
It is very important for us to have your child’s complete attention during their treatment. After the first visit we would like for them to accompany us back to our treatment area. If you would like to be present, we ask that you be a “silent observer” so that you do not distract your child’s attention away from us.
There are certain words that can provoke fear. Examples of these negative types of words are words like “pick,””needle,””shot,””hurt,”“drill,”“fluoride,”“X-ray,”“bright light, We try not to use these words in our practice at all. We listed some alternative words at the bottom. Parents, siblings and friends tend to inadvertently use these words and unintentionally cause their children to become nervous or frightened.
Our most common and safest method of treatment is the use of Nitrous Oxide Analgesia. Nitrous Oxide Analgesia is also called Happy Air or more commonly known as laughing gas. Nitrous Oxide is breathed through the nose using flavored nose pieces that the children select. Nitrous Oxide does NOT put your child to sleep. It makes them feel relaxed, decreases pain sensations and distorts their perception of time. Since most children cannot sit still for long periods of time, this works quite will for them. It is important that your child be able to breathe through their nose and that they are not congested.
Another option for treatment is called conscious sedation. With this type of treatment, a prescription drug in conjunction with Nitrous Oxide Analgesia is given to your child in our office. The medication is dosed by weight and your child must be in good health to qualify for this type of treatment. Your child will be monitored throughout the dental procedure and you will be in our office for a minimum of two hours. These children are a little more sedated during treatment but are still conscious and able to respond to stimulus. Each child must be evaluated prior to treatment because not all children are candidates for this type of sedation. In some situations we may need to consult with your child’s pediatrician to determine if this is a safe method of treatment for your child.
Lastly, when necessary, some children are treated at a hospital or surgery center under general anesthesia. In this situation, an anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist administers the anesthesia while we complete the dental treatment. The children are completely asleep in this situation and all dental treatment is completed in one visit at the hospital. This type of treatment is usually used in very young children with much treatment to complete, very fearful children, medically compromised children who cannot be safely sedated in a dental office and special needs children and adults who cannot cooperate in the dental environment.
Our doctors and staff will be happy to discuss all treatment options with you.
Following these guidelines will help to ensure that your child
will have a pleasant dental experience.