Kid-Friendly Words for the Dentist’s Office

Words have the power to change outlook. At Alameda Pediatric Dentistry, we’ve spent decades developing a specialized set of words to help young patients feel calm and informed during their appointments.

When talking about the dentist at home, keep our softer terminology in mind. “Tooth cleaner,” for example, is far more cheery than the word “drill.” Fun and helpful word substitutions such as this provide a sense of understanding while nurturing a positive attitude about dental care for years to come. After all, going to the dentist should be fun, not scary!

Here are some of the most common pediatric dental terms you’ll hear us using at the dentist’s office:

Dental Terminology                              Kid-friendly Terminology

Nitrous Oxide or Oxygen                                  Magic Air or Laughing Gas

Nitrous Mask (N202 mask)                              Miss Piggy’s Nose, Power Ranger, or Astronaut Nose

Water Rinse                                                              Tooth Shower

Air or Suction                                                           Wind, Vacuum, or Straw

Injection or Shot                                                     Balloon Medicine

Cavities                                                                        Cavity Bugs or Sugar Bugs

X-ray                                                                              Picture

X-ray Unit                                                                   Camera

Leaded Apron                                                           Apron, Cape, or Blanket

Mouth Mirror                                                           Tooth Mirror

Explorer                                                                       Tooth Counter

Extraction                                                                   Wiggle Out

Rubber Dam                                                               Tooth Umbrella or Raincoat

Rubber Dam Clamp                                               Tooth Ring

Topical Anesthetic                                                  Special Lotion, Sleepy Gel, or Tickle Gel

Isolite                                                                             Jellyfish Pillow

Composites or Fillings                                          Mouth Star or Tooth Star

Prophy Angle                                                             Tooth Tickler or Special Toothbrush

Scaler                                                                              Tooth Scraper

Fluoride Foam                                                            Tooth Bubble Bath or Tooth Vitamins

Curing Light                                                                  Magic Wand or Flashlight

Did you find this article helpful? Check out the following helpful posts you may have missed about going to the dentist:

5 Tips to Prepare for Your Child’s First Dentist Appointment
5 Things Parents Should Note for Safe Dental X-Rays
Can a Chipped Tooth Be Repaired?







  1. I try to be honest with my kids about what will happen at the dentist, but these are some great suggestions to help pad the truth a little. For instance, I think that my children would enjoy the term “wiggle out” more than “extraction,” although I hope that they don’t need any! I’ll definitely be using some of these terms, like “cavity bug” or “tooth shower,” next time my kids go to the dentist. Thanks for the suggestions!

  2. Thank ou for talking about the importance of making sure your child is comfortable with the dentist. It makes sense that using children-friendly terms can help your child have a better experience and make sure they get over any fear they might have. IT is important to remember that finding someone you can trust can help you loved one get the best treatment available.

  3. Comfort & Honesty 🙂
    Thank you for the suggestions

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