Being told you need one or more teeth out isn’t exactly thrilling at the best of times. Nevertheless, being told that one of your kids needs a tooth extraction can be even worse. Unfortunately, it is a reality that the vast majority of kids will face at some point during their childhood. Tooth extraction for youngsters isn’t what you’d call rare, but this doesn’t make it any more of a pleasant prospect to deal with.
In some instances, kids fly through tooth extractions as if nothing has happened and forget about the whole thing in an instant. For others, the whole idea is just about as traumatic as it gets. What’s more, these are also the kinds of instances that can have an effect on the way we look at dentists and dental procedures for the rest of our lives.
Suffice to say – more than enough motivation to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible.
On the plus side, there’s plenty parents can do for help. In addition, dental treatments have come an incredibly long way over recent years. Which means that if you haven’t experienced dental surgery for some time, you might be surprised just how painless and simple it can be.
Still, the whole thing will undoubtedly prove testing for the youngest patients out there. So with this in mind, what follows is a brief overview of just a few pointers from the experts, on how to help kids cope with tooth extraction.
Don’t Make a Big Deal of It
First and foremost, the very worst thing you can do is make a big deal of it. Which is something that begins the moment the dentist confirms that an extraction is necessary. If you react as if you have just been told that World War Three has been declared, your reaction is guaranteed to rub off on your child. From then on, it’s a good idea to make light of the subject along the way, treating it as something casual, non-serious and nothing to be scared of.
Of course, if the child in question is too young to have any idea what’s going on, there’s really no need to talk about it at all. If they don’t understand what’s happening, this can actually prove beneficial. In any case, the idea is that when the subject is brought up by you or your child, it is treated as something simple, casual and of no real concern whatsoever.
Avoid Scary Words and Phrases
By following the above method, chances are your child will begin to see the whole thing as nothing to be scared of. However, things can quickly swing in the opposite direction if you say the wrong thing at the wrong time. There are certain words and phrases that should be kept out of the mix for obvious reasons. Needles, injections, pain, bleeding and so on – all the kinds of words that terrify most adults, let alone kits!
Of course, if your child is of the kind of age where they are liable to ask questions and expect honest answers, and it isn’t a good idea to lie to them. Nevertheless, you might want to ensure that any potentially scary subjects are avoided in something of a light-hearted and positive manner. The more nervous they become, the more helpful it can be to remind them there’s really nothing to be nervous about.
Focus on the Positives
Rather than focusing on the inevitable unpleasantness of what’s to come, it’s far better to focus on the positives. For example, one immediate positive as far as younger children are concerned is the extra ‘bonus’ money the tooth fairy brings for extracted teeth. For older kids, it’s a case of focusing on the reason the extraction is taking place and the associated benefits. Not to mention, the way in which you will no doubt reward them in some way for getting through it bravely.
These kinds of procedures are only ever carried out for positive reasons, which should the focused on from start to finish. If your kids are too young to understand the more technical/medical benefits of the extraction, focus on fun stuff instead!
Distract and Entertain Them
In the run up to the procedure, try not to give your kids too much opportunity to get bored and spend time dwelling on what’s to come. Just as is the case with adults, this is a surefire way of making them more concerned and nervous than they already are. Instead, keep them as distracted and entertained as possible.
Which counts double on the day itself. Along with ensuring you work with a dentist with plenty of expertise with kids, feel free to bring along anything and everything necessary to keep them distracted. Get it right and you might find that the whole thing is over before they’ve realised anything was happening in the first place.
Last but not least, it’s important to always reward kids generously after these kinds of things – regardless of how smoothly or otherwise it goes. The reason being that this way, there’s a better chance they will associate such events with the more positive aspects of what took place. Rather than it simply being something comprehensively unpleasant, they may be more inclined to remember the nice things that happened afterwards.
And of course, the fact that they’ve been so brave throughout a process that would probably terrify you yourself to your core justifies one serious reward!
Always remember that while some tooth extractions cannot be prevented, others most certainly can. Particularly those that result from advanced tooth decay and similar hygiene related issues. As such, it is important to get your kids into proactive oral hygiene habits from the earliest possible age.
Speak to your dentist about the best electric toothbrush for kids, how to get kids to take an interest in flossing and generally how to keep their oral health and hygiene consistently well maintained.