How to Prepare Your Child for Their Appointment
When you talk with your child about the procedure for filling their cavity, it's best not to make too big of a deal about the whole thing. Keep the topic light and positive, and pay special attention to avoid any words that may scare them, like "sharp, "needle," or "drill."
Pediatric dental professionals receive specialized training to talk with children about each part of the procedure, so it may be best to leave the details to them. And make sure you have your child brush their teeth before the treatment to remove any leftover food in their teeth.
Topical and local anesthesia are most commonly used for pediatric fillings. If your child is undergoing general anesthesia for the procedure, your dental professional will likely recommend that they fast for a certain amount of time before the appointment. For instance, the Mayo Clinic says that avoiding meals is usually necessary for about six hours before you undergo anesthesia.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends asking these questions about anesthesia before your child's appointment:
- Will you need to give your child any medication before coming into the office?
If so, should there be anything else you need to know? Anything you need to look out for?
- How long should your child fast before the procedure?
General anesthesia will relax muscles that keep food and acid in your child's stomach and out of their lungs, so their stomach must be empty.
- Who is going to evaluate your child before the procedure?
Someone should be looking into your child's medical history, current prescriptions, allergies, previous illnesses, and hospitalizations.
- What level of sedation or general anesthesia will your child be given?
Is it only local anesthesia (wide awake), moderate sedation (a little sleepy), deep sedation (very sleepy), or general anesthesia (sleeping)?
- Does the person who is giving the sedation or anesthesia have the required training?
Check to ensure the dentist has all the permits or licenses required by the state dental board to provide the planned level of anesthesia or sedation. It's also worth asking if the staff who will assist have emergency training and regularly renew their training.
- How will your child be monitored before, during, and after the procedure until they are in your care again?
Check to make sure at least two people with the proper training are there during your child's procedure and that appropriate emergency medications and equipment are immediately available if needed.
- Are there any instructions and emergency contact information if there are complications after returning home?
You likely won't need to use this information, but if anything happens to go wrong after you get home, you'll be grateful to know exactly what to do and who you can call to remedy the situation.