Your child may have gone to the dentist for years without significant problems. However, if they have only ever had checkups before but suddenly find out that they need a filling, then they may get anxious about the appointment.

Like adults, kids feel most comfortable when they know what is going to happen in any given situation. Your child won't know what to expect here, and this may make them scared of going to the dentist. How can a 'Tell-Show-Do' approach help?

What Is 'Tell-Show-Do'?

Dentists often use the 'Tell-Show-Do' method at the start of an appointment to make anxious patients feel more at ease with their treatments. The method has three specific stages:

  1. Tell: During this stage, your dentist tells your child why they need a filling and explains what they will do to fill the tooth.
  2. Show: Your dentist will walk your child through the filling procedure from beginning to end. They will also show your child any instruments that will be used to fill the tooth and explain what each instrument does. During this part of the process, your dentist may also demonstrate how the instruments feel on your child's fingers or hands.
  3. Do: Your dentist will then treat the tooth, reinforcing previous stages by telling your child what is going on as the filling progresses.

Your child can also ask questions at any point if they have specific worries that aren't dealt with during the process.

How 'Tell-Show-Do' Helps

People often feel less stressed if they know what is going to happen to them and can prepare for it. A 'Tell-Show-Do' approach simply gives your child the information they need before they have a filling. They get a theoretical explanation of the procedure and a visual and touch-based understanding of its instruments. This demystifies the process and makes it less scary,

As long as the 'Do' stage of the process meets the expectations of the first two stages, then your child may also become less anxious about having new dental treatments in the future. A successful 'Tell-Show-Do' approach reassures your child that your dentist wants to help and that they deliver on their promises.

Do talk to your dentist if your child seems very anxious before their filling appointment. Experienced dentists have plenty of tools in their arsenal to help anxious patients cope with treatment. If you feel that a 'Tell-Show-Do' approach will help, then mention this to your child dentist during your chat.