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New Approaches To Pediatric Dentistry
- Dr. Varsha Daryanani
Taking your child to the dentist is necessary to keep their teeth healthy and promote excellent oral hygiene habits. But from a child's point of view, a trip to the dentist can be a scary event -- lying on a chair in an unknown room filled with unfamiliar noises and objects, all while a stranger is poking cold, metallic, and unusual instruments in the mouth. The odors, the tools, the sounds, and the big person with the mask on in a white coat can all upset a child. Usually these kids are anxious about their first visit because they don’t know what to expect. Going to the dentist, as we all know, is an important part of maintaining oral hygiene. Still, it typically doesn't rank very high on any parent or child's "want-to-do" list.
At Crown corner, on a weekly basis we have a school or a private children’s group that visit the clinic for a Play Date or for a special kind of activity. We have had schools from Bombay such as Casa Montessori, Headstart and many more visit us for a field trip to the dental clinic. It is important to ensure that children attain the highest level of comfort and create a surrounding as to make them feel at home and make certain that children are first made comfortable with the doctors before any kind of treatment or checkup is done. For this it is very necessary for a Pediatric clinic to have a play area with an adequate amount of engaging toys as well as a variety of live activities such as the provision of magic shows, storytelling and cartoon shows on a television. With the help of these aids, children are more receptive towards the concept of visiting the dentist.
With the help of a friendly approach, we usually introduce ourselves as a new friend, their dentist who is going to count their teeth, clean their teeth with a special toothbrush, and make sure their teeth are healthy. Techniques that some dentists use include "Tell-Show-Do," in which the dentist shows and names a dental instrument, shows how it works and tells what it does, and then uses it with the child. We also indulge in creative role plays where we have the children dress up as doctors and dentists and treat their mothers or other children. This has to a large extent helped a lot of our children to eliminate the fear that they have with dentists.
Tell-Show-Do Technique on a Fish being used with a child and his mother.
Many dentists will start with something easy, such as "let's count your teeth" or making it a guessing game. Sometimes, we also ask children to draw a picture of his or her mouth, or a "rotten" tooth to begin the visit. This helps put children at ease. At the same time, saying something good or providing a reward when the child does something "right" helps make a visit to the dentist more positive. Give the kids stickers, balloons and goody bags after their treatment or check up works as a positive reinforcement of their behavior.