4 Tips To Get Your Child Through Their First Cavity Filling

Does your young child have cavities that need to be filled? Having cavities filled can be a stressful and unpleasant experience for adults. For young children who aren't familiar with the process, it can be terrifying. The last thing you want is for the child to have to be held down or restrained during the process. That could scare them to the point that they'll resist going to the dentist in the future. Instead, it's important that you help them stay relaxed and stress-free so they sit calmly through the process. Here are four ways you can calm their nerves:

Stay calm. Your child will react to your emotions. Avoid talking about the pain or how uncomfortable it is. Don't mention how much you hate having cavities filled. Instead, just say that the dentist needs to do some additional work to get their teeth extra clean. Say that it won't last very long and that if they can sit still, it will go much faster. Help guide your child's emotions by staying calm yourself. If you do that, you'll significantly increase the odds that the experience will be stress-free.

Don't use it as punishment. Just as you shouldn't talk about pain, it's also a wise idea to avoid talking about the fillings as punishment. Don't tell your child that fillings are what happens when they don't brush or floss. While that may be true to an extent, you don't want them going into the filling session with the mindset that they're being punished. The truth is that there are lots of factors that can cause cavities, including genetic history and the chemical makeup of the child's saliva. Even kids who brush regularly can get cavities. After the filling, you and the dentist can discuss ways to avoid cavities in the future, but it doesn't need to be a point of emphasis before the fillings.

Ask your dentist about sedation. If your child's stress is extremely high, it might be best for everyone involved if sedation is used. Most family dentists, such as Monastery Dental, offer sedation options, including nitrous oxide and various oral sedatives. Whether this is an option or not will likely depend on your child's age, size, and experience with sedation. A dentist may be reluctant to use it on a very small child. Also, you should know that your child will likely feel the effects of the sedation for the rest of the day and may be stressed or fearful about the numb feeling in their mouth.

Talk to your family dentist about how to make the experience as stress-free as possible. They may also have movies or books that can help explain the procedure.