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Boise Dentists: Walking Through a Kids Appointment

Boise Dentists: Walking Through a Kids Appointment

At Summit Dental, our Boise dentists do their best to make sure that all of our patients, especially kids, have a relaxing and comfortable appointment. Take a look at how we keep the experience fun and comfortable for kids from their time in the waiting room to when they walk out of our office doors.

In the waiting room

The waiting room at our new Boise office has an entire kids area for families to relax in. Puzzles, toys, and books are just a few of the things kids can play with in the room, or they can tune into the flat screen television that plays children’s programs, Pixar movies, and other kid-friendly content. This room has a soft kid-friendly rubbery floor and brightly colored paintings along the walls to create a fun environment.

During the appointment

If the appointment is for a child between three and five years old (we recommend a first appointment at age three), the appointment is usually just a happy visit where we check their teeth and help them get acquainted with the office. The child can sit on their parent’s lap or by themselves, whichever is easiest.

Parents are always welcome back to the treatment rooms with their children, whatever their age. For some procedures, the experience may be better if parents wait in the waiting room, as the child may be less distracted, and it allows us to phrase things properly and use our “show, tell, do” philosophy. However, parents are always given the option to come back to the treatment rooms with their child if they feel it would be best.

Regardless what the appointment is for, our Boise dentists always use a “show, tell, do” philosophy with every procedure. This involves using kid-friendly terms while explaining and then showing what we will do before we do it. For example, when using the water sprayer or air sprayer, we will call it “rain” or “wind,” in addition to calling the suction that draws out the water the “big straw.”

For cavity fillings, we often use nitrous oxide or laughing gas for children as it helps them relax. To do this, we use a nose piece which we call their “silly nose.” The nose piece is flavored like cherries or strawberries, so we ask them if they can smell the cherries. This is another procedure where we use kid-friendly language, such as calling a cavity a “sugar bug” and referring to part of the filling procedure as “painting the tooth.” We sometimes offer different colored filling material in blue, green or orange so kids can choose their favorite color or school color.

We maintain the “show, tell, do” philosophy with our other tools as well. We call the drill a “water sprayer” and let kids feel the spray of water on their hands. When numbing a child’s mouth, we never use the word “needle,” and we do our best to hide the needle before getting them numb. We call it “sleepy juice” that is going to make their tooth feel sleepy or silly, and we call the poke they may feel a “mosquito bite.” We are almost always able to get their mouth numb without them seeing the needle or feeling much discomfort. Usually the one thing that can interrupt this process is if another family member or sibling is in the room and says something that will give the child anxiety.

The end of the appointment

After any filling, cleaning, or procedure, if the child is well behaved, they will get to pick out a prize from the treasure chest, get a coupon for a TCBY kids frozen yogurt, or receive a toothbrush and toothpaste, or perhaps all three! If the child doesn’t have any cavities, they are entered in the Cavity Free Kids Club, which has a monthly drawing for a prize and movie tickets. This monthly Cavity Free Super Star Winner is given balloons, movie tickets, and a prize in addition to getting mentioned on our Facebook page and blog. After every appointment, we generally call to follow up and make sure everything is feeling okay.

In the end, our main goal during a child’s appointment is to make the whole experience fun every step of the way, from waiting room to back in the treatment rooms. We choose the words that reflect this and then offer kids a “prize” at the end to reward the experience. We would love to talk to you about how we provide the best dental care for your children, so leave us a comment or stop by our Boise office.
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