Did you know that more than 42 percent of kids aged 2 to 11 have cavities in their baby teeth? And many of those kids end up getting cavity fillings to treat their tooth decay.

If your child has a cavity, they’re not alone. But what do you do as a parent to get them ready for the appointment?

Here are a few simple tips to help you and your child prepare for their filling.

Schedule Regular Dental Appointments

Good oral hygiene is the best way to prevent tooth cavities in the first place. But early detection of those cavities can go a long way towards making your child’s first filling less painful.

Schedule dental cleanings at least twice a year. If your child has a history of tooth issues, tartar buildup, or plaque, you may want to schedule more frequent appointments.

Speak with your dentist to determine the best course of action. Every child’s mouth is different and your child could benefit from additional cleanings.

Between appointments, make sure your child is brushing and flossing regularly. And if they end up getting a filling, follow your dentist’s advice.

They may have tips to help your child brush better between cleanings and can give you the tools to help them avoid future cavities.

Don’t Panic

When the dentist tells you that your child needs a cavity filling, stay calm. Your child hears everything you say, even if they act like they don’t. If they see you looking nervous or panicked, they’ll pick up on those emotions.

If you’ve had a filling in the past, you know they’re not the end of the world. But if your child feels stressed and anxious before the appointment, it can make the experience less pleasant.

Ask the dentist to explain what your child can expect during the procedure.

Remember, pediatric dentists deal with kids with varying degrees of confidence in the chair. They’ll be able to explain the process far better and in a way that your child can understand.

Listen to their explanations and take mental notes. Your child will have questions when you get home and it’s always best to be able to answer them quickly.

If you’re still concerned after the appointment, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your dentist and hygienist will happily clarify anything you’re wondering about or concerned over.

Go Over the Treatment Options

Fillings aren’t the only way to treat cavities, but they are the most common.

When the dentist tells you that your child has a cavity, ask about the types of treatment options they recommend. If the cavity is shallow and just starting to form, they may be able to treat it with fluoride.

But if it’s progressed, a filling could be the best option.

If this is the case, there are things the dentist can do to make the appointment more manageable for your child. This includes laughing gas and, in some circumstances, sedatives.

Since each child is different, the method of treatment will also be different. You and your child’s dental team can work together to decide what will best suit your child’s needs.

Ask What You Can Do to Prepare Your Child

Believe it or not, more than 60 percent of adults are afraid of the dentist. The more prepared your child is for the big day, the less scary it will feel.

And if they can approach the appointment with confidence, they stand a better chance of not developing a fear of the dentist later on.

You may also want to let your child bring a favorite stuffed animal or toy to the appointment. Often, having these little touches of home during a stressful experience can make it much easier and less scary.

Make an Appointment for the Cavity Filling

Fillings aren’t painless after the procedure. Your child will need time to recover and rest and you need to remember this when you’re making the appointment.

Choose a day that your child doesn’t have a ton of activities scheduled. This way, they won’t feel like they’re missing out on fun events. 

Though your child will still feel sore for a few days after the appointment, they should be able to resume normal activities the next day. 

Be Honest

It’s tempting to withhold information from your child in the name of soothing their fears. But that can make the appointment far more stressful.

Instead, answer your child’s questions as honestly as possible. If they ask whether the filling will hurt, it’s okay to say yes. Just make sure you explain that it won’t hurt much.

If you’ve had fillings in the past, tell them about your experiences. Talk about the sounds they’ll hear and what it will feel like truthfully. You can even discuss how you felt a bit nervous before the appointment.

When you’re honest, you show them that their feelings are normal. But you do it in a way that tells them they don’t have to handle it alone.

Discuss Aftercare

After the appointment, take the time to discuss aftercare with your child’s dentist. They’ll explain everything you’ll need to do to help your child recover as fast as possible.

It’s important that you actually follow their aftercare instructions. Deviating from them can lead to more discomfort for your child and can delay the healing process.

Final Thoughts

Getting a cavity filling is nothing to feel terrified of. And the sooner you schedule an appointment to treat damaged teeth, the healthier your child’s mouth will be.

Of course, regular cleanings are the best way to prevent cavities and keep your child’s smile bright. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.