Oral surgery, as with any medical procedure, can be a frightening experience for anyone. For a child, it can be even more so because they are likely to have encountered fewer procedures in their young lives, and the fear of the unknown can be nerve-wracking and lead to anxiety. The good news is, you can help better prepare your child for the procedure and recovery and put their mind at ease, so they go into the process with no fear and fewer anxieties.
Discuss With Them the Benefits of the Procedure
As a child, they may not fully understand the reasoning behind their dental procedure. Discuss with them why they need to have the procedure. Will it help them to avoid future pain? Will it prevent them from having to have other corrective procedures in the future? Will it help them to speak or eat more easily once it is done? By understanding the positive outcomes of the procedure, they will better understand the need for it and can look forward to future benefits.
Fully Explain the Procedure to Them in a Calm Manner
Even if your child is young, they will want to understand what is going to happen during their procedure. When they don’t know what a procedure entails, they will tend to expect the worse, feeding into their fears. The important thing when explaining the procedure is to stay calm. A child reads their parent’s emotions and can definitely sense when you are afraid or nervous, so be sure to get yourself in a calm and relaxed place before discussing the procedure with them, even if you are worried.
You will need to tailor the discussion to their age, making sure it is at their level of comprehension so that they can understand. You don’t need to get too graphic or too detailed, but make sure that you walk them through the process, including how they will be prepped for the procedure and what will happen when they get to recovery.
Help Them to Keep Their Strength Up
Your child’s recovery will go the smoothest if they are as healthy and strong as possible. Reduce their chances of getting sick by keeping them on a healthy diet and sleep schedule. If they develop a cold or other health issues before the procedure, be sure to inform your oral surgeon and determine if there is anything you need to do beforehand. Be sure to follow all of the required pre-op procedures, such as not eating or drinking before the surgery so that they will be able to handle the anesthetic without complications.
Be Prepared for Recovery
Have everything you will need for the recovery process, such as soft or cold foods, making sure to find items that they are fond of. It is ok to spoil a child after their procedure and make their recovery as comfortable as possible.
It is also a good idea to take care of yourself before your child’s procedure so that you can remain calm and be the strong support they need through the process from preparation to recovery.