Teaching Children About Dental Tools May Reduce Fear of the Dentist

Going to the dentist may not be the most fun thing your kids can think of doing, but it is essential to their oral health. Your dentist cares about using the proper dental tools for each procedure. If you are having a hard time getting your children to go to the dentist, you may want to teach them a little about each of the tools so the experience will be less daunting.

Gas Mask Nose Piece

Especially for children, but also for many adults, using nitrous oxide that is breathed in through the nose is often part of dental procedures. The gas is often ‘flavored’ with a pleasing scent and can help calm a patient.


For many procedures, it is helpful for the patient to have sections in the mouth numbed with a local anesthetic before the dentist works on them. The gas mentioned above can help calm a patient and help reduce the stinging sensation when the local medication is injected.


Most dentists use dental turbines or a dental drill to effectively remove decay. This tool’s bark is much worse than its bite, especially if the area of the mouth is numbed in advance of the procedure. Explaining the loud noise it makes may help your child be less afraid of it. Whether the dentist needs to remove a cavity or even a tooth, this is an important tool.

Suction Device

If the drill is being used, it is likely that water is being sprayed into the mouth to help cool things down. A suction unit will be used to make sure that there is not too much water in the mouth. This is usually held by the dentist’s assistant. It makes a funny noise and may occasionally connect with the inside of the cheek.


A dental explorer is a tool used to help the dentist or assistant find cavities or check the gums. The hooked end may look a bit intimidating, but it is mostly used to scrape the teeth, which doesn’t cause pain.


The little mirror on a handle may look like a fun toy to your child. It is small and used by the dentist to see the backs of the teeth or areas that would be hard to see from the front.

Helping your child learn about the tools that may be used at the visit, what they look like and what they are used for may help him or her feel more comfortable about the visit.


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