Dental visits can be an enjoyable experience!

A trip to the dentist doesn’t have to be a stressful experience for you and your child. When you partner with the best dentist who understands the needs of children and uses the latest tools and techniques to reduce pain and anxiety, you won’t have to dread taking them in for an appointment. In addition, you can take your own steps to ensure a pleasant experience and create positive associations with the right dentist that help support a lifetime of better oral health. Here are just a few things you can do to prepare for your next pediatric dental visit, as well as different procedures that can help make your appointment as fun as possible.

Read a book before your visit.

Visiting the dentist can be a scary experience for kids simply because they don’t know what to expect. Fortunately, there are plenty of great books written for kids of all ages that can help them learn more about the dentist and understand what will happen during their appointment. Seeing characters go through a similar experience can help put their mind at ease and get them excited about oral health.

Set the tone.

Kids pick up on your energy, so if you are happy and relaxed going into the appointment, they will be, too. Be sure to set the right tone, so they enter the office with a positive attitude.

Plan a fun activity after the appointment.

Whether you go to the park or out to lunch, planning a fun activity for after the appointment will give your child something to look forward to. They will be thinking about the fun in store for them and won’t get too caught up in stressing about the dentist. It is also a nice way to reward them for good oral hygiene practices and will help them create positive associations with the dentist.

Choose the right dentist.

Look for a practice that specializes in kids’ first dental appointments and is committed to providing compassionate care to children. The right dentist will have a warm and inviting office that caters to kids. They will also have experience managing anxiety and helping kids enjoy their experience.

Consider oral conscious sedation.

If you have worked to relieve your child’s stress around visiting the dentist, but they are still dreading having to get a cleaning or other procedure, oral conscious sedation may be the right solution. This approach allows kids to get the treatment they need while feeling safe and relaxed. Your child will be given a low dosage of a mild sedative in the office about an hour before their appointment. The medication will be given in pill or liquid form, which makes it easy to administer.

The sedative will make your child feel relaxed and a little drowsy, but they will still be fully conscious during their appointment, so they can communicate with the dentist. Essentially, the medication slows down the central nervous system, so they won’t feel as much pain or fear, and they won’t notice the sights and smells of the office as intensely.

After the appointment, they will have little to no memory of their treatment, which will help eliminate the anxiety around future visits. Oral conscious sedation is also a good option if your child has trouble sitting still for long periods of time. Utilizing medication will allow the dentist to provide treatment faster and will make sure your child is getting the care they need to enjoy better oral health.

Laser Dentistry

For children who need more cavity treatments or other procedures that may cause pain, laser dentistry offers a less invasive approach that is perfect for kids who may feel anxious about receiving treatment. By using a laser to remove tissue and bacteria, dentists are able to treat a very specific area and eliminate the noise and vibrations that occur with traditional drills and other dental tools. This level of precision not only reduces pain but also shortens recovery time. In fact, using a laser can eliminate the need for anesthesia in some cases. Be sure to ask your dentist about this option and whether it might be the right method for your child.

Gentle Extractions

Ideally, baby teeth will fall out naturally and make way for adult teeth, but there are some situations where teeth will need to be extracted. The best pediatric dentist will take care to offer gentle extractions and use terminology that helps put your child at ease. For example, no one wants to hear that they have to have a tooth pulled. The idea of having it “wiggled out” is much less threatening and is probably the same type of language they are used to hearing when it comes to loose teeth.


Sealants are an easy way to prevent food and bacteria from getting caught in the crevices of teeth and turning into cavities. This added protection is invisible and effectively seals the teeth. The application process involves applying a thin coating to the surface of adult molars. In just a few minutes, the coating will dry and the enamel will be protected from decay. Sealants provide a simple and painless way to avoid future trips to the dentist to receive more invasive treatments.

At Spinnaker Pediatric Dentistry, we work with parents and children to make appointments as painless and fun as possible. Our entire team understands the unique needs of children and how important it is to make visiting the dentist a positive experience. That is why we offer the latest treatments and techniques that will help support ongoing oral health and make sure your kids continue to regularly visit the dentist as they age. See for yourself why we are known throughout Salem, Oregon, for making children’s dental care smooth and painless. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help make your child’s next visit as fun and stress-free as possible.