3 tips for treating children from award-winning pediatric dentist

Dr. Paul Casamassimo is the winner of the 2017 Norton M. Ross Award, which is presented to those whose research has significantly impacted some aspect of clinical dentistry. Dr. Casamassimo spent more than two decades as the chair of the division of pediatric dentistry and community oral health at The Ohio State University College of Dentistry in Columbus, Ohio, and treating children is one of his passions.

xxxxx_NDC_Blog_IMG_0093It’s no secret treating a child can be difficult. “Technically and strategically, practicing dentistry is difficult, and that’s before adding an additional variable in like a child who may or may not be willing and able to accept treatment,” he said. Still, Dr. Casamassimo said it can be very rewarding.

Without further ado, here are Dr. Casamassimo’s three tips for treating children:

1. Encourage parents to bring children in early

As all dentists know, prevention is key, but this especially applies to children. If their first visit to the dentist is positive one, they’ll know what to expect next time they’re in the office. But if their first dental visit is because they’re experiencing pain and a dentist must perform more extensive treatment, it could lead the child to associate the dentist with discomfort. “It’s vital for parents to bring their child to visit a dentist around their first birthday,” Dr. Casamassimo said.

2. Distract the child

“To be a pediatric dentist, it’s almost a perquisite to know cartoons, comics, sports, pop stars and Disney movies,” Dr. Casamassimo said. Discussing these topics can spur a conversation with a child and make them more comfortable, while distracting them from the dental procedure itself.

3. Reward the child

“I always try to reinforce positive behavior with both the child and their parents,” Dr. Casamassimo said. Rewards like stickers can cap off a productive trip to the dentist and reinforce that the child did a good job and that they should behave similarly next time. “If you have an office that distracts and rewards young patients, it can become a pleasant experience for them. I’ve had patients who didn’t want to leave and asked their parents when they can go back to the dentist,” Dr. Casamassimo said.

Dr. Casamassimo acknowledged that working with children can be challenging, but he said it’s something dentists should embrace.

“Dentists should be willing to do all sorts of procedures and even be open to taking on some things that they may not have enjoyed in dental school, but are necessary when working with the general population,” Dr. Casamassimo said.

“Dentistry is fun,” he continued. “And working with kids can be fun. When you receive a hug from a child after performing a procedure, it makes it all worth it.”


  • I like that you mentioned how good pediatric dentists will have distractions for the kids. One thing I have noticed in the past is TV’s on the ceiling for the kids to watch when being worked on. When my wife and I choose a dentist we will keep this in mind because of our little ones.

  • Thanks again for all the tips on how to help your kids not be scared of the dentist. One thing that you mentioned that I really enjoyed was about distracting your kids and bringing up a conversation to get their mind off of the visit. My son is really nervous about his first visit to the dentist and so I will make sure to talk to him about his favorite cartoons. Thanks again!

  • I like your advice in bringing your child for an appointment with the dentist at an early age to eliminate their fear or anxiety. Some children associate going to the dentist with pain and discomfort. This is why it’s important for parents to educate their children that this is actually in their best interest. It is recommended to bring your kids for a visit to the dentist as early as one year old. This way, they would no longer have to worry about future visits. Thanks.

  • I appreciate the tip to bring children in early to a children’s dentist, especially around their first birthday. My youngest is quickly approaching the age of one, and I should start looking to get him to a dentist. Rewarding my child to reinforce in a positive light is also something I’ll be sure to do when going to the dentist.

  • I want to make sure that I get the right dentist for my kids. I agree that it would be a good idea to find one that is qualified! Maybe I should ask my friends and family for referrals.

  • Dr. Paul Casamassimo is fully committed to his passion, being a dentist is not easy specially dealing with children who has trauma on visiting the Dentist. I appreciate the tips, bringing the children as early as possible and let them understand how important it is to have strong nice teeth.

  • I like the idea of using stickers as a reward for good behavior at an important. Kids love stickers and will more than likely stay quiet and cooperative for one in the end. Thanks for teaching me a little about how to treat kids.

  • Thanks Loved all the styles, you said it right, Dentistry is fun,” he continued. “And working with kids can be fun. When you receive a hug from a child after performing a procedure, it makes it all worth it.”

  • These are great suggestions for dentists planning on working with kids. I particularly like what you said about using knowledge of cartoons, comics, or current celebrities to distract the kids. My son loves talking about Pokemon, so we found a dentist who could engage in conversation with him, I’m sure he would feel right at home.

  • I agree that prevention is key, especially when dealing when children. My sister’s son has a toothache and doesn’t like seeing doctors. My mom suggested going to a children dentist and shared this article with her.

  • I appreciate you talking about bringing your child in early to prevent severe problems within their mouth. My older sister is looking to hire a good pediatrics dentistry for her two boys. I think I will talk to her about taking them in regularly to try and avoid big problems.

  • To create awareness among the children and encourage them to be cautious about their oral care award winning system is another way. Inspected some aspect of clinical dentistry dentists are doing their research from several years. As all dentists know, prevention is key they tried their best to do proper treatment of the children with out any hurt.

  • I’ve been looking for some pediatric dentistry options in our area, and I’d love some tips. I’m glad you talked about being able to distract the child, which I think is a big part of getting their dentistry work done. I’m going to have to look for a good pediatric dentist and see what I can find!

  • My brother was calling me the other day worried about taking his kids to a pediatric dentist. He is nervous because he wants them to be okay while also getting good care. I will let him know that a good trick is to reward them and reinforce positive behavior.

  • I like how you point out that a good child dentist will know about things like sports, Disney movies, and cartoons so that they talk about those things with them and help them feel comfortable. My daughter needs to start going to a dentist because all of her teeth have grown in. I’ll have to find one like you describe to take her so that she’ll be comfortable while getting her teeth looked at.

  • I like what you said about distracting the child with other things that are separate from the dental procedure and rewarding them for having a productive trip to the dentist. My kids are always complaining when we go to the dentist and I think little things like this can really turn the experience around from a negative one to a positive one. I’ll have to keep these tips in mind next time I take my kids to a dentist!

  • That makes sense to distract a child. You don’t want them to be worried about the procedure. I bet that that’s something parents look for in a doctor as well.

  • My wife and I are expecting a baby soon and I wanted to do some research on why we need a pediatrician for our future baby. I really liked the insight on the full spectrum of what a pediatrician does, including advising parents on proper diet, physical exercise, and mental development. I am glad that there will be someone who will advise me and my wife on some good practices for raising our child!

  • I am so thankful for what you have shared about a pediatric dentist. My granddaughter is really shy and it’s a problem for us in bringing her to the dentist. However, I found it interesting when you said that rewarding a child while being treated is really fun. So, I guess that’s it!

  • Great article! Very helpful tips for kids and parents to have the best experience at the dentist. Very well written and it shows that you care about your patient. Thank you!!

  • These tips are not only great for dentists to learn, but they also could help people choose the dentist that will best care for their children. Personally, I would love to take my children to a dentist who can distract them and make them more comfortable while they’re at the dentist. I’ll make sure that I choose a pediatric dental care specialist who makes my children feel comfortable and has a reward system in place that will reinforce good behavior.

  • I figured that treating a child could be difficult because parenting is also difficult! I want to look for a good pediatric dentist who will help my child have good teeth. I think one of those ways is rewards. I agree that positive behavior should be reinforced and rewarded. I hope to find a dentist who will do that.

  • I would love a children’s dentist if the dentist were able to distract my kids so they don’t freak out. I have a really hard time trying to calm them down or distract them. I don’t know that much about cartoons and stuff so I will be looking for a dentist who can connect with them.

  • I love that you mentioned rewarding the child to reinforce positive behavior. This is a wonderful way to make sure that you are not scaring your kids. My sister would love this tip as she gets ready to take her kids to a dentist.

  • Great tips by professional. What about the tools. Is electric toothbrush better than classic one for kids?

  • I like how you said to be a pediatric dentist, it’s almost a prerequisite to know cartoons, comics, sports, pop stars, and Disney movies. Thanks for the tips on treating children.

    • Yups pediatric dentist must know the exact characters, names, pet words and small particulars of all the cartoons and comics. Its a good gesture for child if you talk about his/her favorite character. You will be at ease in managing the behavior on dental chair. This is a good post.

  • My sister has children and wanted to make sure that their teeth are in intact. It was explained here that it will be best to bring children to the dentist early and reward for coming to the clinic. Furthermore, it’s recommended to go to trusted dentists for quality pediatric dentistry.

  • I like the idea of a pediatric dentist distracting the child. You mentioned that discussing certain topics can spur a conversation with a child and make them more comfortable. My daughter is just old enough to bring to the dentist, and I love the idea of bringing her to a pediatric dentist because they are trained for kids.

  • I think that mouth health is super important. Not only is it super important to promote in your children’s lives, but it’s actually quite easy. I think it’s a great idea to learn how to reward your kids for doing well in taking care of their mouth. I will have to be better about that moving forward.

  • My sister wants to make sure that her children’s teeth are always in good condition. It was explained here that children should be encouraged to go to the dentist early on. Furthermore, it’s recommended to go to a trusted pediatric dentist for quality dental care.

  • I need to take my daughter to the dentist. It sounds like a pediatric dentist would be the right choice. It’s nice that they can distract the children.

  • It’s so refreshing to find a dentist that cares! My tooth was hurting badly and I went in as an Emergency. The Front office was super sweet and understanding and was able to see Dr. Jackson within 30 mins. I was literally in tears walking in and walked out feeling a million times better. Tooth all fixed up. Thank you!!

  • My sister is concerned with her son because his starting to have teeth. It was encouraged here to bring her child to the dentist early on and prevent oral health issues. Furthermore, it’s recommended to go to a trusted pediatric dentist for quality oral care.

  • I like your idea about rewarding kids with stickers. I would imagine that this motivates kids to come back more often. I’ll have to consider your tips if I ever start up my own dental practice.

  • I like your tip about knowing some random things like cartoons and sports. That will probably help you interact with the clients more. I’ll have to consider your tips if I ever get into dentistry.

  • I really like that you suggest distracting the child. I’ll have to keep this in mind as I search for the best dentist for my kids. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do some research and find the best dentist possible.

  • I like that you mentioned the importance of rewarding your kids. This is a great way to make sure that you are getting the best results for the visit. My big sister is trying to get her kids interested in going to a pediatric dentist and might like this tip.

  • These 3 tips will definitely work! I agree, the child’s first visit to the dentist should be positive, this is major! One of my nephews had a bad dental experience, so we had to find another clinic just to convinced him that it’s going to be “good” different the second time around, and we were glad it was.

  • My sister wants to make sure that the oral health of her children is taken cared for. It was explained here that she should bring her children to the pediatric dentist early on to prevent the development of any oral issues. Furthermore, it’s recommended to go to a trusted pediatric dentist for quality oral care.

  • My sister noticed that her child’s teeth are now starting to show up and she is worried about her. It was explained here that she should encourage her child to go to the dentist early and reward her child by doing so. Furthermore, it’s recommended to go to a trusted dentist when in need of pediatric dentistry.

  • Thanks for mentioning that prevention is key and that it’s especially true for children. My wife and I are looking for a new dentist because our old one moved out of town and we need to find a place that works with children’s teeth. I think it’s a good investment to go to a reputable dental facility that can perform teeth services from kids to adults.

  • I have struggled to get my son into the dentist chair for his regular check ups and cleaning. The tools and noise of the tools seems to irritate him so much that he has refused to go to the dentist. Your tips are helpful. Right now the only way I can get him to go is a reward to Best Buy after he finishes his cleaning – an expensive endeavor but I know how important it is to have him have healthy teeth.

  • I am a dentist and I find it difficult to work with children!! My specialist pediatric dentist handles them well but when I need to do it sometimes, it is not a very pleasant experience!!!
    Thank you for your tipe sand they will be very helpful for me!!

  • I agree with you, bringing children to a dentist at an early age can help them eliminate their fear or anxiety. This will also maintain their oral health. I appreciate for writing this wonderful post on pediatric dentistry. Keep it up!

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