Pediatric Dentist Techniques for the Anxious Child

A pediatric dentist specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of oral health issues in children. Part of treating younger patients is making them feel comfortable while at the dentist office, which builds positive habits that carry into adulthood. Each pediatric dentist has a unique approach, but there are certain techniques most commonly used to keep children calm and comfortable.

How a pediatric dentist helps anxious children

It is helpful for parents to know how a pediatric dentist helps children who may have dental anxiety. A common mistake parents make is taking their child to a dentist that primarily treats adults, and may not know how to relate to children properly. The following are five common ways pediatric dentist calm anxious children.

Talk in a friendly voice

Even the most subtle actions can have an effect on the attitude of a child while at the dentist. A very professional tone from a deep voice may cause increased anxiety, whereas a calm, gentle voice is soothing and promotes a relaxing environment for children. A pediatric dentist is more likely to talk in a tone that children find relaxing and friendly, making them more comfortable receiving dental treatment.

Use positive language

How a dentist says something to a child certainly plays a role in their attitude, but the language that is used is also important. A pediatric dentist may use simpler terms for children, rather than more complex dental jargon that the child is less likely to understand. The fact is the more a child knows what to expect, the more they feel in control and comfortable with a particular procedure.

Keep the child engaged

Another useful technique a pediatric dentist may use is to keep the child engaged as much as possible by asking questions, such as how their day is going and what they enjoy doing for fun. Many dentists who deal with children less tend to ask fewer questions, thinking they are not comfortable talking, but a pediatric dentist knows the appropriate way to distract a child from a certain dental procedure.

Use laughing gas

The fact is some children are more likely to be anxious, regardless of the friendliness of the staff, especially children whose main concern is the discomfort of a particular procedure. In these instances, a pediatric dentist may use laughing gas to keep the child calm and pain-free. Laughing gas, otherwise referred to as nitrous oxide, is a mild form of sedation that is safe and effective for children.

Remain calm and patient

Pediatric dentists also understand the art of remaining calm and patient when a child is highly reluctant to undergo a certain procedure. Many children have a tendency to say and do what they feel in the moment, and it is important for dentists to know the appropriate way to handle children with severe dental anxiety.

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