Those questions tell me somebody has talked to the kids about their visit or they somehow learned about dental visits elsewhere. Behavior management is a lot about how you talk and present what you are about to do. Good and effective communication is a cornerstone of being a good (pediatric) dentist. It is essential that you stay truthful. DO NOT LIE! Kids will sense if you lie or once they discover you were not truthful you loose their trust.
I believe any question needs to be answered truthfully. I also believe you should only answer the question and not provide more information or any additional information that is not necessary. If you did not answer with enough information kids will follow up with more questions.
How do you avoid getting the kids more worked up and worried?
We avoid negative words. Terminology is a good way to prevent unnecessary negative emotions. I don't give "shots", we make teeth sleepy, "it feels the same like your arm or foot falling asleep". How do we do it?
"I dribble sleepy juice next to the tooth". I don't "yank" teeth, usually I "wiggle" teeth or "make them dance". I aim to be exact in my description and anticipate what it may feel like. You may even hear me say "watch out! your going to feel a pinch".
Why would I want to scare or confuse kids with "2%Lidocaine injections", "17 gauge needles", "drills",etc...
One of the toughest questions remains "is this gonna hurt". The truthful answer really is "I don't know, and I will try to make sure your tooth is all sleepy, you need to let me know if it isn't".
Please help your child by avoiding scary and negative descriptions. Don't share your negative experiences with your kids, keep explanations simple. If you don't know the answer, tell them that you don't know and reassure them that they can ask their dentist. I will always be happy to explain what I am doing.
Dietmar Kennel DDS
Lubbock KIDS Dental