How to Prepare Your Kid for Their First Filling

Even children with healthy diets and good dental hygiene routine can end up with cavities. If your child needs a filling, here are some tips you can use to help prepare them for the treatment.

1. Stay Calm

Even if you find fillings scary or uncomfortable, try not to pass your fear onto your child. Explain to them calmly and in age-appropriate language what the dentist is going to do. Rather than focusing on the drill, tell your child that the dentist will be cleaning bad stuff out of their teeth and filling it with material that will help to keep them strong. Reassure your child that the procedure will not hurt.

2. Ensure Your Dentist Uses Appropriate Pain Relief

Dentists can use a numbing gel on a child's gums to avoid them feeling the pinch of the needle that delivers the local anaesthetic. They should then wait until the numbing effect sets in before starting treatment.

3. Consider Sedation

If your child is anxious or finds it difficult to sit still, sedation can help them to get through the filling experience with as little difficulty as possible. Nitrous oxide is a safe option for most kids. Another option is oral sedation, in which your child swallows a tablet shortly before the appointment to make them sleepy and calm. Talk to your family dentist about sedation options if you think your child is likely to struggle with getting a filling.

4. Prepare Your Kid for Numbness

It is important to explain to your child that their mouth will be numb for a while after their appointment. Some kids bite or suck on their tongue, cheeks, or lips while they are numb, which can cause ulcers and sore spots. Try to distract your child from doing this by talking to them.

5. Prevent Future Cavities

You can't control all the factors that influence why some kids develop cavities while others do not. Genetics plays a role, which is why even children with perfect dental hygiene routines and good diets sometimes need fillings. However, you can reduce the risk of your child needing further fillings by reducing the amount of sugar they eat, ensuring that they brush and floss their teeth thoroughly, and taking them to the dentist regularly. If your child is very young, you might need to brush and floss their teeth for them, but older children can master the techniques and clean their teeth for themselves.

Speak with a professional who practices family dentistry to learn more.