At Dentistry for Children, we are specialists in calming children’s dental fear and assuaging their possible pain.
We often call ourselves your child’s “dental home,” a term you have seen in several of our blogs.
If your child has a “dental home” at an early age, the first obvious benefit is physical. Your child will not only have early treatment of dental problems, but also guidance in the preventive procedures of his or her oral health care.
Although less obvious than the physical benefit, the second benefit children enjoy from their “dental home,” is psychological. This emotional benefit is the calming of dental fear and pain. The initial fearful response to dental procedures is often mitigated by the familiar warmth of friends on the professional staff of a pediatric dentist’s clinic.
A Calming Dental Home Team
We want parents to know that the “dental home” is more than a place. It is more than kid-friendly décor and fun video games, although we certainly have those details covered.
Being your family’s Dental Home means warmth, familiarity, friendship and trust. In the words of the AAPD, “The dental home is the ongoing relationship between the dentist and the patient, inclusive of all aspects of oral health care delivered in a comprehensive, continuously accessible, coordinated, and family-centered way.”
The experts add, “The dental home should be established no later than 12 months of age and includes referral to dental specialists when appropriate.
Calming the Two-Headed Monster: Fear and Pain
If your child has positive dental experiences, we can banish the 2 headed monsters of fear and pain before it gets a stronghold in your child’s imagination. A parent might reassure a child there is no monster under the bed or in the dark recesses of the closet. Likewise, trained personnel at the pediatric dentist’s office encourage, soothe, and support youthful patients. With a little help from parents, we can teach them to see light and health in the dentist’s office, not boogeymen and monsters.
Naturally, our efforts to defeat the pain include the latest in pain-relieving techniques at Dentistry for Children. However, because of the fear of pain and pain itself are so closely intertwined, we begin our crusade against fear by intensely listening to patient behavior.
We captivate the child in communication that will help us gauge his or her level of fear and pain, and the difference between them.
This communication, a role played by all of us here, is well expressed by this month’s article in the online magazine, Mentor, which states, “By listening to the child and effecting modifications to reduce pain, the clinician has the best shot at cultivating a good future relationship with the child patient.”
These experts also report, “Positive dental experiences for young children have much to do with a positive outlook about the experience in adults.”
So here is where parents and siblings can help slay the two-headed monster of fear and pain. A child’s perception of pain is often the result of built-up fear and dismal anticipation. How can you help?
1. Parents’ Dental Homework:
Contact us concerning a pre-visit by phone, online or by e-mail. We will share calming information about how to best get your child ready for his or her crucial first visit to the dentist. Preparation is key in this situation.
2. Family Style Dental Support:
John Liu, DDS, a national spokesperson for the AAPD states, “Parents may have had bad dental experiences and are fearful themselves of seeing the dentist. Often the children can sense this fear in their parents.” Likewise, an older brother or sister might innocently terrify a younger sibling with nightmarish stories.
It’s important for parents to tell them to curb their imagination and help little brother or sister to understand the trip to the dentist’s office.
3. Tell-Show-Do Methodology:
At many pediatric dental clinics, the dentist uses this calming and communicative formula to acquaint a child with dentistry:
A. The dentist will talk in a calming or entertainingly distracting way about each step of the procedure.
B. The dentist will show how some tools and instruments will be utilized. (This does not mean your child will handle a bone saw. But do not be surprised if he or she demonstrates the water sprayer with great pride.)
C. Finally, after questions and answers, the dentist begins the procedure.
Remember: No Monsters Allowed!
There is much more to the story of defeating the two-headed monster of fear and pain. We have only made a beginning with this brief blog.
In Part Two, our next blog, our coverage of this topic will be listing some of the most successful techniques used by pediatric dentists in the prevention of pain.
Meanwhile, parents, do not be surprised if you never see evidence of that two-headed monster around our halls or walls at Dentistry for Children in Orlando.