Every January there is a large dental conference in Boston which offers dental professionals the opportunity to see what is new and up and coming in the dental field and also offers continuing education courses. One of the courses I took was in relation to pediatric dentistry. It was a great lecture given by a pediatric dentist based out of Washington state by the name of Dr. Greg Psaltis. He has been in practice for over 30 years and is now seeing children of the children he has treated over the years!
The lecture offered numerous tips for treating children that could be very useful to us as practitioners but also tips that he shares with parents to help the appointments flow more smoothly. He has had great success with these suggestions.
If your child needs restorative work:
Do not over prepare your child for dental appointments. Let the dental professionals guide your child through the appointment using their terminology. Don’t introduce ideas that may or may not occur. This can introduce unnecessary fear. Examples of suggested terms for younger children include:
|needle or shot||sleepy juice|
|drill on tooth||clean a tooth|
|pull or yank tooth||wiggle a tooth out|
|decay, cavity||sugar bug|
|tooth cleaning||tickle teeth|
|nitrous oxide||magic air|
The language is not intended to “fool” children but to create a positive experience. Children will eventually know what tools are used so keeping it happy to start is important.
Parents are allowed in the treatment room but are encouraged to be a silent observer. This allows the provider to maintain communication with the child. Children will tend to listen to parents instead of the provider and they may not hear guidance from the provider. Parents should be prepared to leave if asked to. Often, if the child knows that mom or dad may have to leave the room if he/she is acting out, then the child will be more cooperative. It is okay to give quiet, gentle touches for reassurance. On a personal note, I have seen instances where a child is calm and relaxed but mom or dad’s fear of the dentist is imposed onto the child by repeatedly asking the child if he/she is okay or if anything is “hurting” the child.
It is important to have regular care for your child which includes seeing the dentist on a regular basis. If your child’s experience is a positive and happy one, it is much easier for a parent as well!
Our office does offer “magic air” for cleanings and restorative work. Please give us a call at 236-4740 to schedule and appointment!
Kim is registered dental hygienist currently working at Seasons of Smiles in Camden, Maine. She graduated from University College in Bangor. She also holds an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration through the University of Southern Maine.