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How a Pediatric Dentist Handles Restless Kids

Going to see a dentist can be a nerve-wracking experience for anyone and everyone. That’s why seeing a restless child in the dentist’s chair can be disheartening, but completely normal. Dental anxiety is an uncomfortable thing, but it’s something that can be overcome. Getting your child to the dentist when they’re dealing with anxiety is only half the battle. What happens when they’re in the dentist’s chair? 

After all, restless or non-compliant kids can interfere during dental procedures. Luckily the staff at Timpanogos Dentistry is prepared to make your child comfortable before, during, and after their visit.

It Begins Before the Appointment

Know that your child isn’t comfortable with the idea of going to the dentist? You’re not alone. We always ask that parents be open and honest about their next appointment. By making an appointment with us a mundane and (maybe even enjoyable) activity, you’re already working to take away a good amount of pressure and anxiety that comes with the appointment itself.

  • Watch fun and educational videos with your kids!

Your child might not understand why they have to go to the dentist for routine check-ups or to get a certain procedure done. Helping your child understand the “how and why” can be a highly effective tactic to calm their fears. We can even suggest our favorite videos to watch with your children, but so many can be found on YouTube.

Explaining and Showing!

Jumping straight into a procedure can be daunting, to say the least. That’s why our pediatric team will take the time to explain what’s going to happen during an appointment and show the techniques that will be used before they’re performed. We’ve noticed that restless children are more often put to ease once they get to see what’s going to happen.

That’s why we always have visual learning aids in our office. If we’re able to sit down with your little one and put their fears at ease, we’ll take the time to do so! This is also a great opportunity for your child to build trust with our office staff. Oftentimes, taking the time to explain and show will make future visits easier and simpler.

Build a Fidget Toolkit

Although we have toys and games for your child to play with during their time in our office, we always recommend building a personalized “fidget toolkit”. Whether we’re working with a toddler or an adolescent, sometimes the idea of being in any chair for more than a few minutes at a time can be a lot for a child to handle. After all, they’re in an unfamiliar space and without much to do while we work. Help your child feel comfortable and confident by bringing along:

  • Their favorite book
  • A beloved stuffed animal
  • A handheld video game
  • Fidget cubes or spinners

Is Sedation an Option?

That’s a great question! Sometimes your child may have fears that can’t be conquered during their visit. If your child is about to undergo oral surgery, sedation may be the right option for them. Sedation can sound scary, but several methods are commonly used in our office. Sometimes being mildly sedated during a visit can give your child the calmness and confidence they need to make it through their visit without panicking. So, what types of sedation methods might we use?

    • Oral sedation. This type of sedation involves taking oral medication before their visit. The idea is to have your child feeling calm and at ease by the time they get into the dentist’s chair.
    • Nitrous oxide. Also known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is a sedative gas that’s mixed with oxygen. It’s a mild form of sedation, meaning the effects of it wear off within minutes once the gas stops flowing.
    • IV sedation. As a form of conscious sedation, this type of sedation won’t make your child unconscious, although your child might feel so relaxed that they fall asleep during their visit. They might not even remember their visit at all!

We’re Ready to Build Dental Confidence

We’re here to help your child take on the “dental scaries”. Whether you’re coming in for a routine visit or a specific dental procedure, we can help your child stay calm and build their confidence within our dental office. Request your appointment today!


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25 North 1100 East

American Fork, UT 84003

(801) 207-9080

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