Desensitization is defined as gradually exposing the child to new stimuli or experiences of increasing intensity. An example of this is introducing the patient to x-rays by initially taking an anterior radiograph which is easier to tolerate than a posterior radiograph.
Another example of desensitization is the “Lollipop Radiograph Technique.” The child is given a lollipop to lick (preferably sugarless). After a few licks, the lollipop is taken from the child and a radiograph is attached to the lollipop using an orthodontic rubber band. The lollipop with the attached film is returned to the child, who is told to lick the lollipop again. After a few licks, the child is told to hold the lollipop in his mouth while we take a tooth picture. The exposure is made.
The child has now associated the radiograph procedure with a pleasurable experience (the licking of the lollipop) and has been desensitized to the extent the more difficult posterior radiographs can be attempted.