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Say this, not that

After working in dentistry with children for over a decade, I’ve learned that children are incredibly brave, often times more than their parents give them credit for. When kids do well and are empowered by their accomplishments at places like the dentist, they in turn feel like they can move mountains.

Sometimes, however, when parents try to prepare their child for a dental appointment, they unknowingly frighten them. Below is a list of “soft” words we encourage parents use to prepare a child for the dentist:

Do not say Our equivalent

Needle or shot Sleepy juice

Drill Mr. Whistle

Pull a tooth Wiggle a tooth

Decay or cavity Sugar bug

Examination Count teeth

Teeth cleaning Tickle teeth

Nitrous oxide gas Happy air

Children are resilient, strong, fierce and funny. They’ll learn the true terminology later in life, but for now, in this sweet and all-too-short time of childhood, softness wins.


Brought to you by:

1611 J street Springfield, OR


Dr. Erin Estep is a board-certified pediatric dentist who owns Treehouse Kids Dentist in Springfield. She and her staff are committed to making sure your child has an amazing, safe, memorable dental experience.


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