We believe that just because kids are little doesn’t mean they don’t have big feelings and fears.
Many children have a fear of the dentist or a fear of new and strange places. They may be afraid or unsure of what may be about to happen, and in particular the potential of pain. It is common that kids have a fear of needles or have picked up on their parent’s own fear of the dentist!
At Today’s Dentistry we treat kids the same way as we treat adults. This means that our priority is to keep them fully informed about what we are going to do – using language appropriate to their age of course! Keeping them ‘in the know’ means they are in control.
Kids need to feel safe and control even in the dental chair
We aim to always treat our smaller patients with respect and make sure they are comfortable and at ease with what we are doing and how we are treating them.
We achieve this by talking to them, understanding them and making sure they feel confident enough to tell us how they feel and ask any questions (which given the opportunity, most kids are more than happy to do!)
Treating kids is not a one-size-fits-all approach
There are a few steps we follow initially when treating kids.
Firstly, we consider both their behavioural age and development. We assess this individually and then adjust our speech, tone and the words we use to match this as best we can.
Secondly, we use child friendly language to describe their dental treatment and what is happening or going to happen to them.
Part of this is the “Tell-show-do” technique where we begin by sharing with the patient what is going to happen using age appropriate language. Then we show them (within reason) what it is we are going to be using, holding and feeling with our fingers first. Only when we are confident that the child is comfortable do we then move ahead.
Distraction is great for big and little kids alike
Even the most comfortable and relaxed environment and atmosphere won’t calm the fears of some children. This is when the age-old technique of Distraction helps us to make the child feel at ease. The distraction technique we have in our toolkit includes in-chair TV and DVDs, singing, telling stories and using positive rewards such as stickers etc for good behaviour.
Our Therapists have up to date information and are always going to continuing education courses to make sure kids are getting the most up to date techniques.
What we DON’T DO when treating kids
At Today’s Dentistry we will never push children or hold them down to complete treatment.
If a child is too scared and we think we will not be able to do the best possible treatment for them because of this then we will always refer to our great network of specialist paediatric dentists. It is better for the child to have a positive experience at Today’s Dentistry and then be happy to return for check and cleans in the future.
So many dental phobias in adult patients were a result of those adults being treated badly or bad dental experiences when they were a child. This is what we are ultimately aiming to avoid completely with our child patients of today.
Children are smart and very aware of what is going on around them so we need to anticipate that in order to make them feel comfortable before they get a chance to get scared, involve them and let them know that they are an important part of the process.