Most kids, and many adults, have an aversion to going to the dentist. When a cavity is diagnosed and a filling is scheduled, some children put up major resistance. However, there are several things parents can do to help prepare their children for a first dental filling.

Explain the Process

Kids are often terrified to visit a doctor or dentist when they don’t know what to expect. The use of hypodermic anesthesia is especially unsettling despite initial preparation with a local anesthesia. It helps to point out that the injection is momentary, and the filling will not take long. Describing a process approach to the procedure may help to calm a child’s uneasiness.

Offer Reassurance

Remind the child that you will be there, too, so there is no need to worry. Explain that many children get fillings in order to protect their teeth and have them as long as possible. A gentle smile and possibly a hug can go a long way to ease children’s dentistry fears. Let the child know that the dental visit will not last long, and with proper or improved dental hygiene, there might not be any future cavities to deal with.

Emphasize the Benefits

Although no child likes to get a shot or have their tooth drilled by a dentist, it helps them to understand the reason for this treatment and how it helps to protect their dental health. Having a filling means the child can keep the tooth longer instead of having it pulled. Pain from the cavity will be treated and eliminated. The child’s teeth will be attractive and usable without pain on chewing.

Stay Calm and Matter-of-Fact

Parents who remain calm and stick to the facts rather than communicating emotionally often get a better response from the child. Kids constantly observe their parents to learn how to react to certain situations. If the parent seems stressed or uneasy about a dental appointment, the child is likely to feel the same emotions. Treating the dental filling as a necessary and harmless experience with great benefits can help kids to view the treatment in a more positive light.

Some children are more uneasy than others about getting a filling on a tooth. Another option to help them get through it is more comfortably is sedation dentistry. Getting a filling while lightly unconscious can make the experience more palatable to young children or those who are especially nervous.

By Lizzie Weakley

Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her three-year-old husky, Snowball.

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