Gentle Children's Dentistry
with Dr. Cosner
"Your child's first experience in a dental office can make or break how they will maintain their own oral health for the rest of their lives, give them the gift of gentle dentistry
in an office full of loving care."
in an office full of loving care."
It can be easy to pass on your own fears around dentistry to your children, but with the support of our staff and gentle, empowering care in our office - you and your child can create an entirely new, empowered dental experience together.
As a mother of two, there is a special place in my heart for children's dental care. The earlier we begin to teach our children the importance of making their health a priority, the better chance we have of helping them creating lifelong vitality - without a fight later in life!
Honesty and clear communication are key in our relationships with our children - including how we parent them through their dental visits! If something might hurt like the shot, I say, "You might feel a pinch or tingly but sometimes kids don't feel it at all!"
I have found for many children under the age of 8 years old, they do not need a shot for simple fillings. They simply don't feel the pain like older people do and some even tell me it tickles! Bypassing this step can go a long way toward taking anxiety out of a dental visit. Additionally, when a child is a bit anxious, I make up silly songs which usually helps them get through the procedure.
If you happen to be a breastfeeding mother, you've found a supporter in me! I was very excited to see an article come out in JADA strongly encouraging dentists to support breastfeeding relationships!
How can I help my child know what to expect during their first dental exam?
To prepare a child for any new experience I use the Tell, Show, Do method.
#1: TELL THEM ABOUT IT:
Use supportive, positive language to tell your child about their upcoming visit. Explain to them where you'll go and what they'll be doing (an exam OR a come and see visit - more on this in #2).
You can also say things like:
- You will get to ride in a moving chair at Dr. Cosner's office - that will be so much fun!
- You get to go to the dentist today! That will be a great experience!
- You'll get to ask Dr. Cosner about Mr. Thirsty and Mr. Whistle at your appointment - doesn't that sound funny?!
- Dr. Cosner will count your teeth today, how many teeth do you think you have?(This works well for exam days, and the answer is 20 baby teeth!)
#2: SHOW THEM HOW IT WORKS:
Role playing before coming to the dentist can help with the experience - have the child lay down with their head in your lap and practice looking around in their mouth, then let them do it to you, too!
During the visit, I will give your child two simple rules... use these in your preparatory practice.
- RULE 1: Keep your hands on your tummy. Raise your hand to say "STOP!" at any time so I can stop and be a good listener to YOU!
- RULE 2: Be a good listener as well. This will make the visit quick and easy!
If your child is nervous about seeing us for the first time, we are happy to offer a "come and see visit", in which the child gets to have the experience of being in the office, riding in the chair, learning about the tools, and getting a prize to create a positive association for them. It takes only about 10 minutes!
#3: DO IT TOGETHER:
Let your child know you'll be there for them and that our staff is happy to help them enjoy their visit!
In my practice, I have seen many traumatized children who have had previous negative dental experiences warm up to our staff and even climb in my lap by the end of the visit as if to say, "Thank you, Dr. Cosner!" It brings tears to my eyes to know the impact that every parent can make by showing their child how to have a positive dental experience!
What if my child is already nervous about seeing a dentist for the first time?
Parents are welcome (and encouraged) to accompany their children during their appointments. Booking a "come and see visit" is the best option for especially nervous children!
How can I help my child warm up to the idea of dental care - and make it a priority for themselves?
I encourage parents to bring their children with them to their teeth cleaning appointments so that children can see and feel for themselves what going to the dentist is all about. After all, our children model our behavior.
Remember, your child hasn't experienced dental care and will pick up on your fears, past trauma, and nerves about dental care. Using positive language (as mentioned above) about your own visits and theirs will be important.
Are you a Board Certified Pediatric Dentist?
Board Certification in Pediatric dentistry is not required to work with children. I prefer to see the whole family as this is where we can affect the most change in lifestyle, health, and oral care. Many general dentists will not work with children because it can be "inconvenient" and takes a special presence, personality, and skill set to have a child sitting still for any amount of time for a dental exam! I love working with children in my practice.
If a pediatric specialist would be more appropriate for your child's particular needs, I will absolutely refer you to another wonderful care provider.