As a pediatric dentist, my overall goal is to make visits to the dentist more positive so that children can understand at an early age why it’s so important to take care of our teeth. In fact, most pediatric dentists will advise parents to bring their children to the dentist by the time they are a year old – so that an organic connection to the dental office can be created, right from the start. Additionally, I’ve found that families who focus their efforts on implementing proper prevention techniques for their children (such as diet modifications and use of recommended dental products), generally experience fewer cavities. And more often than not, parents who are able to stay committed to teaching their children about practicing quality homecare regimens are rewarded with more consistently positive experiences at the dentist’s office.
Creating a safe space
To make sure a child’s trip to the dentist goes as smoothly as possible, I will sometimes use techniques such as digital x-rays to minimize patient exposure and chair time, buffering local anesthetics to improve speed and effectiveness of numbing teeth, or perhaps employ the most up-to-date materials for longer-lasting fillings and crowns. And, again, I also find that encouraging parental presence in all aspects of a child’s dental care – from routine dental cleanings, to cavity treatment with sedation – helps to make the child as comfortable as possible. But truly, in my opinion, the most important thing my practice can offer, is an atmosphere that puts the child and parents at ease from the moment they walk through the door.
Trained fear fighters
There are a good number of adults who fear going to the dentist on a regular basis. Often times their apprehension can carry over into their children as well. That’s why, as a pediatric dentist, my background includes extensive training in managing the behavior and specific anxieties of children. While, my first impulse is to use one of the methods I previously mentioned to put my patients at ease, there are times when greater measures are required. In those instances, I will call on the careful instruction I’ve received in using select pharmaceutical methods for various levels of sedation to assure that the child is as comfortable as possible during the dental treatment.
Building trust, relationships, and a better dental experience
For me, pediatric dentistry means not only treating teeth, gum disease, and other dental issues in infants, children, and adolescents, but also helping to cultivate the manner in which children manage their oral health – from childhood and beyond. My goal – like most pediatric dentists – is to build solid relationships with my patients and their families, based not on fear and intimidation, but on empowerment, prevention and overall well-being.