Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Pulling Teeth - Parental Survival Guide for Dental Fillings & Extractions

The past two weeks has felt like a series of appointments and work deadlines.  As Groundhog day approaches I can't help but think about the Bill Murrayness of the past two weeks, particularly the number of hours our entire family has spent at the dentist.

This week Molly had her first filling, and on Friday Jack has to have a tooth pulled and a filling.  It turns out one of the other things that can happen when you have twins is that if both babies aren't getting all the nutrients they need, they could end up with some teeth with poor enamel, here's another thing that Jack can blame on his sister.  The paediatric dentist assures me there will be laughing gas, I'm hoping they save some for me.

Molly was a champion at her filling, didn't need freezing, and only whimpered once.  Our dentist assures me she was better than a lot of grown-ups are.  As we prepare for Jack's big day at the dentist Friday I am spending a lot of time thinking about what made Molly's filling such a painless endeavour, and ways we can prepare Jack for a more lengthy and demanding dental "performance".

Image courtesy of YouTube

9 Tips for Kid Success and Minimal Meltdowns at the Dentist  

  1. Find out whether or not you will be going to be beside them for the procedure to help manage their expectations. Different dentists have different rules, so ask.  This way you can prepare your kiddo for what's going to happen. The right dentist is essential to making sure your children don't develop a fear of what should be a fairly routine and pain-free experience.
  2. Bring them sunglasses.  Some dentists have them for little kids whose eyes are sensitive to the bright lights, but it doesn't hurt to bring a pair with you just in case.  Telling Molly she looked like a movie star distracted her for a good five minutes of the appointment.
  3. Emphasize the importance of being still with your kid, as well as listening, and that they better they are at listening the sooner it will be over.
  4. If they're having trouble doing what the dentist is telling them, start a game of Simon Says.  (The paediatric dentist did this with Jack so we could get X-rays for a very sore tooth, and it worked really well).
  5. Bring distractions.  Favourite books to read in the waiting room or videos on your cell phone (which should be fully charged just in cased) may save your bacon when you're bored or uncomfortable kid needs a distraction.
  6. Know the things that bug your kid and cope.  Jack is really sensitive to loud noises, they freak him out.  So we'll be bringing an ipod with his favourite songs on it to distract him from the sound of the drill, which is a major source of stress for him.
  7. Bribe them for good behaviour.  Seriously.  I told Molly that if she was good I'd buy her a toy valued at $20 or less.  The best money I've spent in a long time, and she's thrilled with her new stuffed dog named Poppy.  Jack is getting a chocolate shake from "Old McDonalds" (that's what my kids call it) as a treat after his filling, and the same promise of a new toy.
  8. Praise them for their good behaviour.  Jack was a star getting his X-rays, even though it sucked. Molly was amazing.  Going to the dentist freaks out a lot of adults, be sure to celebrate the good things they do to help make the dentist a fun experience.  
  9. You know how at Christmas parents hang over their kids head that Santa is watching?  I'm not going to be above talking about the tooth fairy as Jack prepares to put his very first tooth under his pillow on Friday night.

    To read tips on making your toddler's first trip to the dentist a success click here

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