5 Tips For Preparing Your Child To Have A Cavity Filled

Regular dental treatment and a daily oral hygiene routine are essential for good oral health, but know matter how diligent you are in caring for your child's teeth, he or she may eventually develop a cavity that will need to be drilled and filled in the dentist's office. The first filling can be scary for a young child who doesn't know what to expect. Use the following tips to prepare your child for his or her first dental filling:

Answer Questions

Most children are naturally curious, and they often have questions about what getting a filling involves. In simple language that your child can understand, explain the process and let your child know that there will be some noise and his or her mouth may feel "sleepy" during and after the procedure. Let your child ask as many questions as he or she may have, and answer them honestly.

Avoid Using Words with Negative Connotations

When talking about getting a filling, try to avoid using scary trigger words that children often pick up on, such as "shot", "hurt", or "needle": Choose your words carefully so your child can understand what you are saying but does not become anxious about the procedure. For example, instead of talking about getting a numbing shot, you may want to describe the injection as a little poke.

Put a Positive Spin on the Situation

Kids may feel upset and disappointed to learn that they have a cavity and need a filling. Try to put a positive spin on the situation by telling your child that cavities are very common and that he or she is lucky to see a nice dentist who is very good at doing filling for his or her patients.

Stay Calm

If you have any type of dental phobia or have had a bad experience in the past at the dentist, try to stay calm around your child. Kids tend to be very perceptive, and if you are anxious or nervous your child will likely pick up on that and begin to feel the same way prior to the appointment.

Plan Something Fun Afterwards

Having a cavity filled is usually a pretty quick process, and it shouldn't take long before you and your child are leaving the office. Make plans for a fun lunch out, a trip to the park, or a playdate with a friend after the appointment. This can help build positive associations with going to the dentist and getting a cavity filled.