Dentists’ Images: Superheroes or Villains? That’s a big question, and more important than you think. Dentists’ Images are on the chopping block for this week’s blog topic.
Do young patients frame their dentists’ images as superheroes or villains? This topic reflects more than a fluffy, fun subject.
Identity Crisis: Superheroes or Supervillains?
Yes, the question is tinged with wit. That is because it is aimed at comic-book reading, superhero movie-watching children.
According to Melissa Busch, Associate Editor at Dr. Bicuspid.com, the question comes from a research survey. Researchers designed the study to determine the best and worst children’s perceptions of today’s pediatric dentists.
You might ask “Why?” And Dentistry for Children would be quick to respond we care about children’s feelings. In other words, we want to comprehend their level of anxiety.
Your Dentists’ Image in Your Child’s Eyes
You see, most medical professionals want to boost their image so they can lessen patient’s anxiety. Just like your average cardiologist or ophthalmologist, dentists want their patients to perceive them as one of the “Good Guys.”
Images have suffered in the eyes of their patients over generations. There have been dental jokes that were not very funny and unexpressed fears that ran very deep.
A Little Bit of Backstory
And we have seen anxiety about dental images cripple people with fear for their entire lives. Such people become parents. Then parents have passed on the fear and misunderstanding of dentists’ images to their children. This is a sort of inherited dental anxiety.
Thus, researchers want to know what your children think about their dentists’ image. In a world of action figures, do dentists rank well? If the impressions are negative, perhaps dentists can find ways to improve their images. Follow this logic:
- If you are a Superhero, you do not inspire fear.
- Thus, if your dentist is a superhero, you will not suffer anxiety in your dentist’s chair.
- Therefore, you will keep your regular appointments, and maintain great oral health. Likewise, your regular appointments and good oral hygiene will lead to overall healthier life.
- And in the final analysis, you will reduce the anxiety of your children’s fear whenever they visit the dentist.
However, these good points can only happen if dentists can answer questions like these: What makes them relax? Why do they giggle? How do they feel? We believe pediatric dentists must register an improved understanding of children’s thought processes.
Research into Your Dentists’ Images: Super or Not
Dr. Burak Buldur, Ph.D., of the department of pediatric dentistry at Sivas Cumhuriyet University in Turkey put it this way.
“Coupled with behavior management, this understanding can be an important part of improving dental visit behaviors and fostering positive post-visit attitudes among children.”
Children’s Perceptions of Dentists’ Personal and Professional Images
In the 21st century Age of Superheroes and Super-Villains, the perception of a pediatric dentists’ image obviously will depend on the dentist. Even more important is the character and perception of the child pronouncing the judgment. It depends on who you ask. At least that is the astute conclusion of Dr. Bicuspid’s online dentistry magazine article.
Wisdom from Dr. Bicuspid and the Research Studies.
Melissa Busch summarized the study, and we paraphrase her points for all of you dentists who do not yet understand your super facts.
You see, in the eyes of your youngest patients, you might have a double identity and secret superpowers. You can tap into these powerful perceptions and use them for good.
Calling Dr. Batman: Dentists’ Images Reveal Superpower
Here at Dentistry for Children, we are pretty sure Dr. Troy King has some super silly super-secret powers that bring confidence and calm to his young charges.
Then, we hear the giggling. His powers of gentle persuasion and good communication shine in the eyes of his patients as they leave his office.)
- “About 50% of young children perceive dentists as a type of superhero…” We embrace this fact because of a study published on April 7 in the European Journal of Oral Sciences.
- Sadly, we cannot report those positive images for all dentists stated Melissa Busch, the DrBicuspid.com associate editor. Therefore, based on the research, “another 30% of children saw dentists as Batman’s villain, the Joker or as monsters…” (Ouch, that can not be good for alleviating children’s anxieties about dental visits.)
The respondents were part of a survey to understand how children perceive dentists in order to bolster trust and improve communication.”
- The article adds, “In addition to superheroes, many children saw dentists as a repair person or an artist. A minority of children, approximately 20%, perceived dentists as scientists or educators.”
Super Identities: Using Metaphors as Building Blocks for Build Better Relationships
Melissa Busch explained, “The relationship between a dentist and a patient can affect clinical outcomes.”
She added, “These relationships can be tested in pediatric cases involving patients with dental anxiety and dentists under stress.”
The heart of the matter in dentists’ images, both personal and professional, is that “Children’s perceptions of dentists “may affect how they take care of their oral health.”
Likewise, it affects how they behave when they go to the dental office. She concluded. These perceptions and behaviors can affect management and, therefore, need to be better understood.
Buldur’s Research Condensed
Recent research used several tools to determine some generalized data for Dentists’ Images. They included:
- An oral health behavior form.
- A metaphor form.
- the Children’s Fear Survey Schedule-Dental Subscale,
- the Dental Trust Scale,
- and the Early Childhood Oral Health Impact Scale
1,014 children between the ages of 8 and 13 took these tests and surveys. Researchers used special metaphors to describe dentists’ images. The research displayed categories like these:
- Like Super-Villains: chaotic and unlovable, and scary.
- Also, Like Superheroes: they perceived dentists as artistic, and protective.
- And finally, some saw their dentist’s images Similar to Artists and Repairmen. This category was alleviative, restorative, scientific, and educative.
After collecting all this data, Buldur analyzed it, to discover what children really thought about their dentists’ personal and professional images.
More Details from Study, Coming Soon!
Buldur discovered children perceive dentists in a variety of ways. Obviously, we need to pass more of these ideas on to parents and caregivers. Then, they too can reinforce the positive superhero or practical artist. Somehow, we see those metaphors as far preferable to chaotic supervillain.
Thus, we will feature Part Two of this article in our next blog. We’ll bring you more about Baldur’s fascinating research.
You will find out details beyond what percentage of children saw dentists as restorative, artistic, or protective. Discover the logic of an 11-year-old-girl. She declared,
“A dentist is like Batman because our mouth is like a city… “And she added this insight concerning dentists’ images.
“Sometimes, when bad things come to our mouth that hurt us, dentists protect us from them. Just like Batman protects the city.”
Here at Dentistry for Children, we think her conclusion about dentists’ images, is…well…super! Additionally, as promised, our next blog brings you more food for thought and more help for children’s dental anxiety.
Therefore, not only dentists but also parents can help calm children. We can encourage good dental health with the use of unlikely, Super metaphors.
So, in our next blog, learn your superpowers as parents and caregivers for dental visits.