Children’s Fear of the Dentist

Many factors can contribute to a child’s fear of the dentist. On top of that list is a bad experience at a previous dental appointment. The younger the age, the higher likelihood that a child will have a fear of the dentist. It has even been shown that parents can pass along their own fear of the dentist. Children are very perceptive and can sense that a parent is stressed when talking about a dental visit. I employ a number of techniques to help allay a child’s fear. We have TV’s in the ceiling with cartoons playing which helps distract the child. Just something as simple as using a gentle, friendly voice and a smile can also put the child at ease. The “tell-show-do” technique works great. I tell them about the “water sprayer” that will flush out all of the “cavity bugs”, then I will take the dental hand piece and spray water on their hand so that they can see that there is nothing to fear. Then, for the “do”, I touch the anesthetized tooth which produces a gentle vibration so that they can see that there is no pain. And speaking of the numbing process, they are never shown the needle. They just get a little “pinch” to put the tooth to sleep. By employing just a few simple techniques can greatly reduce a child’s fear of the dentist and make it a pleasant experience.

Plaque Disclosing Tablets

Dental plaque is a sticky bacterial residue that forms on your teeth. The bacteria in your mouth uses sugar that you eat to produce a sticky substance that allows it to adhere to the teeth. They then colonize on the teeth and use more sugar to produce acids and toxins that are the root cause of cavities and gum disease. By removing this bacterial film on a daily basis, you can help keep your teeth and gums healthy. One problem with dental plaque is that it is invisible. The good news is that it can be stained with plaque disclosing tablets. Made of a harmless vegetable dye, a tablet is chewed and then swished for 30 seconds. What is left behind are brightly colored areas of plaque.

Plaque made visible by tablet

Surprise! Just when you thought that you were doing a great job with brushing and flossing, you see all the areas you miss. It’s amazing how many nooks and crannies that plaque can hide out in. Brush and floss again, then chew another tablet. It’s amazing how much better a job you can do when you can see what you are cleaning off. Plaque disclosing tablets are a great aid in training yourself to do a thorough, yet efficient job of daily oral hygiene.