Tips and Tricks on How to Talk to Your Child About Their Upcoming Dental Procedure

Prepare your child for a dental procedure.

Your child needs a dental procedure? Now what?

Hearing that your child needs a procedure, no matter what kind, can be daunting. How will it go? Will they stay calm? Will they be asleep for it? How do you even go about explaining the process to your child? It’s completely understandable that the nerves will be flying all over the place for both you and your little one.

It’s important to understand that the nervousness both you and your child feel is entirely normal. It’s a big deal—there are so many unanswered questions swarming around in your mind—but trust us, you’ve got this!

Different Kinds of Dental Procedures for Children

It’s a good idea to learn all you can about your child’s dental procedure beforehand. Not only so you can have an idea of what is going on, but also so that you can answer all of the questions your child throws your way. 

Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry can be helpful in dealing with many different things, including extreme dental anxiety or complex dental procedures where your child may not be able to sit still for the entire time. Sedation  comes in two varieties: nitrous-oxide, or laughing gas, and general anesthesia. Both are safe for your child and closely monitored by our professional staff.

Baby Root Canal

Did you know that sometimes even baby teeth need root canals? This surprises a lot of parents. If the tooth is severely damaged or infected, a root canal can be performed to help eliminate pain and keep the tooth safe until it’s ready to come out.

When a root canal is needed, the child is first given local anesthesia to prevent any discomfort. Then, the center part of the tooth, the pulp, is removed and the tooth is fitted with a permanent crown to ensure it is strong enough to withstand your little one’s bite force.  


Crowns are used to either restore or protect a tooth from further damage. We offer two different kinds of crowns: stainless steel (ideal for molars) and tooth-colored (perfect for those front teeth). 

First, the tooth is shaped and smoothed to create the perfect base for the crown to adhere to. Next, impressions are made of your child’s teeth. These molds are used to create a permanent crown that fits your child’s tooth perfectly. Don’t worry, while waiting for this permanent crown to be finished, your child will, in most instances, be fitted with a temporary one. 

Talk to your child ahead of time.

Depending on the age of your child, it might be a good idea to talk to them ahead of time. This way they can be prepared for what will happen at the dentist. Use positive words so your child understands that the dentist is here to help them and that they will leave with a happy and healthy smile. 

Read them books filled with their favorite characters to help them prepare. “A Visit to the Sesame Street Hospital” tells the story of Grover’s   visit to the doctor for a tonsillectomy. “Surgery on Sunday” is another cute book showing how a little girl prepares for her very first surgery.

Don’t be afraid to ask your child’s dentist for any extra tips on how to explain the process. They even might have an extra mask to let your child take home and play with. If your child is old enough, encourage them to ask whatever questions come to mind as well!

Be careful how you word things!

A child’s imagination is incomparable. Though this is great when playing pretend, it can cause some issues when they misunderstand things. You want to be honest with them, but also not scare them.

For example, when they ask if the procedure is going to hurt, consider saying something like, “You will not feel anything while the dentist is working on your tooth because you will be sound asleep. When you wake up, the medicines will help it not hurt.”

If your child is a little older, consider explaining how the procedure will help them in the long run. You can say things like, “When it’s all done and your tooth is fixed, you can eat all of your favorite foods again.”

Notes for the Parent

If your child is about to undergo a procedure it can be scary. Knowing that you’re not alone can help some, but that fear can still build up. Be open and honest with your child’s dental team and ask all of the questions you have. Believe it or not, we want you to be comfortable too, even if you’re not the one having the work done.

Remember, we welcome all of the questions you have for us. We want to do everything we can to make sure you and your child feel comfortable.

Whether you need to ask us anything, are ready to book your child’s dental procedure, or simply need to get them in for their bi-annual cleaning, an appointment is only a few clicks away!