Visiting the Dentist: Preparing Your Children for the New Normal

2020-09-09T14:55:26+00:00July 21st, 2020|Children's Health|

Going to the dentist can be scary for a child. Even a routine teeth cleaning can seem like a tooth extraction if a child is already apprehensive about having someone tooling around in his or her mouth. Add in the layers of personal protective equipment that are now required of those working in any business or essential service, and a simple trip to the dentist can seem even scarier. This is why it is important to let your children know that though things may look different, and maybe even a little strange, there is no need to be scared.

 

Getting used to the new norm of wearing masks and face shields will take time for us adults, but imagine being a child and observing such a drastic change in our world. Even with detailed explanations of what is happening, it is still off-putting for a child to communicate, or even get close to, someone whose face is partially covered. Getting your kid to sit still in the dentist’s chair just got harder, but there are ways to get your young ones to understand that everything is going to be okay.

 

Show, Don’t Tell

Trying to explain to your child what he’s about to walk into before a trip to the dentist will surely scare him, no matter how nicely you try and say it. Chances are, children will hear something like this: “Someone with a face mask and shield and gown is going to stick sharp, metal objects in your mouth,” even if you literally say something like this: “The dentist will have a face covering and gown, but he is not scary and he won’t hurt you.”

Instead of starting with an explanation, try to show what the experience will be like as much as possible. Put on your mask (and shield if you have one) and have your child sit in a chair like he or she would during a visit to the dentist. With your mask still on, mimic the movements of a teeth cleaning, maybe even get a toothbrush and brush your child’s teeth.

Try and make it fun, but also mention that this is what it will be like going to see the real dentist. Let your child ask questions and keep the conversation open—you know that little mind will be thinking about this for much longer.

 

There’s a Person Under That Mask

Before making the trip to see the dentist, pull up a picture of the entire dental team and show your child. Explain that even though their faces will be mostly covered while you are there, this is what they actually look like. Along with your child, take special note of the hair and eye color of each individual. Since these two aspects will be visible during the appointment, your child should be able to recognize who is hovering over him or her.

It is also important to encourage your child to talk to and ask questions of the staff. Anything that can be done to highlight the fact that it’s a real person beneath the personal protective equipment is helpful—and you can definitely count on the dental staff to engage in conversation as much as possible, so you are not completely alone in your quest to normalize a trip to the dentist.

At Adam Brown DDS, we understand that a trip to the dentist can be especially scary for young ones these days. If you find your child is struggling to understand why going to the dentist is so different than before, take the time to show what it will look like and explain that underneath those masks are nothing but big, bright smiles.

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Warning: Teething Jewelry May Pose Significant Risk

2020-07-16T16:58:35+00:00December 27th, 2018|Carolina's Dental Choice, Children's Health, Dental Trends, Oral Health|

You may have seen it advertised in women’s magazines or on parenting blogs, cute jewelry marketed as a way for moms to look stylish while caring for a teething tot. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning that the jewelry may present a serious choking hazard or strangulation risk.

what age and order do baby teeth come in

“Teething jewelry includes necklaces, bracelets, and other jewelry that can be worn by either an adult or child, and is often marketed to relieve an infant’s teething pain,” states the FDA’s safety warning. “The beads of the jewelry may be made with various materials such as amber, wood, marble, or silicone. Jewelry marketed for teething pain is not the same as teething rings or teethers, which are made of hard plastic or rubber, and are not worn by an adult or child.”

The American Dental Association has joined the FDA in cautioning parents and caregivers that the jewelry has not been proven safe or effective. The FDA received a report of a 7-month-old child who choked on the beats of a wooden teething bracelet while under parental supervision. An 18-month-old child strangled to death when his amber teething necklace became wrapped around his neck during a nap.

“Teething jewelry may also be used by people with special needs, such as autism or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), to provide sensory stimulation or redirect chewing on clothes or body parts,” the FDA safety warning also states.

The jewelry poses similar risks of choking, strangulation, injury to the mouth, and infection for these people.

Instead of using teething jewelry to treat teething pain, parents and caregivers should adhere to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations. Teething typically begins between ages 4 to 7 months and may cause mild irritability, crying, a low-grade fever, excessive drooling, and a tendency to chew on things.

  • Try gently rubbing or massaging the gums with one of your fingers, a small cool spoon, or a moist gauze pad
  • Teething rings are helpful, too, but they should be made of firm rubber. Teethers that are to be frozen tend to get too hard and can cause more harm than good. Never allow an infant to use a teether that is frozen solid. Either simply chill them in the refrigerator or allow them to thaw to the point you can easily squeeze the contents around. Be warned that liquid-filled rings or other objects may crack and leak.
  • Pain relievers and topical medications applied to the gums are not necessary or useful since they wash out of a baby’s mouth within minutes.
  • Stay away from teething tablets that contain the plant poison belladonna and gels with benzocaine. Belladonna and benzocaine are marketed to numb your child’s pain, but the FDA has issued warnings against both due to potential side effects.
  • If your child seems particularly miserable or has a fever higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 degrees Celsius), it’s most likely not a result of teething pain. Consult your pediatrician.
  • When your child’s baby teeth have begun to come in, gently brush them with a soft child’s toothbrush. To prevent cavities, never let your baby fall asleep with a bottle, either at nap time or at night. By avoiding this situation, you’ll keep milk from pooling around the teeth and creating a breeding ground for decay.

Baby teeth are important to your child’s health because they form the foundation for chewing, speaking, and smiling. If a baby tooth is lost too early, permanent teeth can drift into the empty space, making it harder for other adult teeth to erupt. This process contributes to crooked and crowded teeth in later years.

Your child’s first dental visit should come after their first baby tooth has emerged but before their first birthday.

 

 

If you have questions about your child’s oral health, contact Carolina’s Dental Choice so that we can help you address any concerns. Visit us at carolinasdentalchoice.com to schedule an appointment or call us at 704.289.9519.

 

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