My son is scheduled with our Elgin dentist for a root canal and crown. He’s only six… I know, it probably sounds bad that he needs to have such an invasive procedure done, but we really do take good care of his teeth. In any case, he has a case of the jitters and I want to put him at ease before he goes in for treatment. At the same time, I’m a little worried that anything I say about it will add to his anxiety. What can I do in advance to help him prepare for the visit?
First of all, it’s important that you’re at ease about the procedure. Your son will pick up on whatever you’re giving off, so if you’re nervous about the procedure, he’ll learn that it’s something to be worried about too. Conversely, if you have a confident attitude about it, he’ll draw comfort from that as well, and might not have any concerns about going into it. Aside from that, try these tips:
1) Familiarize your child with the doctor and the office before the visit. Knowing the office and the staff will make it feel more like he’s visiting friends, or at the very least, a familiar place.
2) Explain the procedure in kid terms. At age six, your son may or may not be prepared to understand what a pulpotomy is, but he’s old enough to understand that his tooth is injured and that the dentist will have to remove the damaged parts and put a cover over the top.
3) Make jokes and keep it light-hearted. While tooth decay is serious, particularly when it gets to this stage in a child, you can work in jokes to make him feel good about having the work done. Maybe his new silver crown will keep werewolves at bay or it will give his broken tooth superhero-like strength. Obviously, you don’t want to encourage him to get more decay for the “benefits,” so tailor your talks in a way that promotes health while making him feel good.
4) Plan something fun for after the visit. Let your son know that if he’s up for it and he’s extra helpful for the doctor, he gets to do something fun with you afterward. This may be just extra time with you, a visit to the park, or even a trip to the store to pick out a new brush and floss. Go with what works for you and your family.
This blog is sponsored by Elgin dentist, Dr. Steve Sirin.