5 Things We Do at Pediatric Dental Specialists That Help Children Feel Safe
Visiting the dentist can be a daunting experience for both children and parents. It is not uncommon for kids to feel anxious or scared about dental appointments, but at Pediatric Dental Specialists in Omaha, we prioritize making our young patients feel comfortable and safe during their visit. In this article, we will discuss five things the best pediatric dentist near Omaha, Nebraska does to help children feel at ease and have a positive dental experience.
We understand that kids have fears about visiting the dentist.
Fear is a common emotion that children may experience from time to time. It can serve as a natural mechanism that promotes caution in new or unfamiliar situations that may seem intimidating due to their size, noise level, or uniqueness. And for kids with autism and special needs, those fears and concerns can be that much more pronounced. At Pediatric Dental Specialists in Omaha, we specialize in treating children with autism and special needs.
We understand these kids may require specific accommodations to help them feel more comfortable and confident in new environments. According to the May Institute, some effective strategies for supporting these children during transitions include visual aids, social stories, sensory supports, and consistent routines. Here are some things we do to help your child feel safe and at ease.
1. We use a tell-show-do approach.
The tell-show-do approach is a helpful technique that can be used to prepare autistic children for dental visits. This method involves first explaining to the child what will happen during the appointment (tell), then demonstrating the procedure using models, pictures, or in our case, a puppet (show), and finally carrying out the procedure while continuously explaining what is happening (do). As part of this process, we show children the dental tools that will go into their mouths and let them touch them to see what they feel like. This approach effectively reduces anxiety and improves cooperation in children with autism spectrum disorder.
2. Distraction Techniques
Distraction techniques are another beneficial strategy in easing anxiety and discomfort for special needs children during medical and dental procedures. Using toys, music, videos, and games, can help redirect the child’s focus away from the procedure and onto something enjoyable, which can help reduce stress and improve cooperation. By providing a positive and engaging experience, distractions can help special needs children feel more comfortable and confident during medical procedures.
3. Take a Knee
According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Pediatric Dentistry, the knee-to-knee approach is a helpful technique to make dental visits easier for young children and those with special needs. This approach involves having the parent or caregiver sit facing the dentist and the child on their lap facing the caregiver. The child then reclines, giving the dentist a clear view of the child’s mouth. This position also facilitates communication between the dentist, child, and caregiver.
The study found that the knee-to-knee approach effectively reduced anxiety and improved behavior during dental visits for children with developmental disabilities. At Pediatric Dental Specialists, this technique effectively provides kids with a sense of security and familiarity during the appointment, making it a positive and comfortable experience.
4. Rewards for a Job Well Done
Rewarding kids at the end of a dental visit can effectively reinforce good behavior and positively encourage future cooperation. And we have found that a small incentive, such as stickers or a toy, at the end of the appointment can help children feel more positive about their experience and increase the likelihood of them returning for future visits. This technique can also help reduce anxiety and create a sense of excitement and anticipation about the next visit. By associating dental visits with positive experiences and rewards, children may develop a more positive attitude towards oral health and dental care, leading to better long-term outcomes.
5. Sedation Dentistry for Those Who Need It
Sedation dentistry can be helpful in extreme cases where a child may have extreme anxiety or require extensive dental work. This type of dentistry involves medication to help your child relax and remain calm during the procedure. At Spinnaker Pediatric Dentistry, several types of sedation dentistry are offered, including:
- Nitrous oxide—A safe and mild sedative inhaled through a mask and wears off quickly.
- Oral sedation—Medication is given orally to help your child relax. It ranges from mild to moderate in effect.
- General anesthesia—A deeper sedative administered intravenously that puts your child to sleep throughout the treatment.
Sedation dentistry can help make dental procedures more comfortable and less stressful for children, particularly those who may have difficulty remaining still or cooperative during the appointment. However, while sedation dentistry is completely safe, it should only be used in extreme cases and under the guidance of a qualified pediatric dentist.
Your team at Pediatric Dental Specialists in Omaha are the best dentists for children with special needs.
Our dental practice comprises a team of highly qualified and experienced pediatric dentists. Each dentist is trained and equipped to provide comprehensive dental care for infants, children, adolescents, and individuals with special healthcare needs. Our team boasts seven pediatric dentists, each with their unique qualifications and areas of expertise. Whichever of our excellent dentists your child visits, know that our team brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to provide the highest quality dental care for children of all ages and needs.
If you are looking for a dentist for children with special needs, your child has dental anxiety, or you just want the best pediatric dentist near Omaha, Nebraska we’ve got you covered. Request an appointment for your child today.