4949 Westown Pkwy Suite 150
West Des Moines , IA 50266-6716
(515) 225-0066

The language of a pediatric dentist

As specialists in pediatric dentistry, Dr. Matt and Dr. Diana know that children are not just small versions of adults.  Along with our stellar dental assistants, we take our time to get to know your child and present instruments and materials in a child-friendly manner. 

During check-up appointments, you might hear the “spinny toothbrush” and feel the “silly string” (floss).  Your child will likely take “tooth pictures” (x-rays).  For patients that would benefit from additional fluoride, we “paint on fluoride tooth vitamins.”  The dental mirror and “tooth counter” can be seen below. 

During treatment visits, we do not use words like “shot,” “drill” or “needle.”  These words can be very anxiety-provoking for children, as well as adults.  We introduce topical anesthetic as “tooth jelly” and local anesthetic (shots) as “sleepy water.”    We have many words and phrases that we use to help children understand their dental experience, feel comfortable to ask questions and help reduce fear and anxiety.  We show children the next step on their hand so they can feel, hear and see what will be on their tooth.  

It is VERY important that you allow Dr. Matt or Dr. Diana to explain to your child the procedures during their appointment.  Some parents and siblings try to help by telling the patient exactly what will happen before the appointment.  Many times, this can backfire because children can become overwhelmed with scary words and they aren’t able to understand procedures like extractions or crowns.  Our doctors have extensive training and experience with children and will show them each step so that they can understand.  Behavior management is the hallmark of a pediatric dentist and this is the reason many local family dentists refer their young patients to our office for treatment.  

Just as your child sees a pediatrician for their medical care, a pediatric dentist is ideally suited to work with your children to make dental care easy and fun.  Next time you are with your child at our office, listen for some of the special words we use!