A visit to the dentist can be intimidating for the kids, as well as their parents. As a pediatric dentist, it’s your responsibility to not only care for your young patient but to help them feel at ease, as well as satisfied with your services (especially the parents!).
Treating children, however, can be challenging. Even the best dentist struggle with scared children or overly protective parents. Plus, there’s always the need to continuously improve your practice to attract more patients.
Fortunately, there are numerous ways you can step up your pediatric dentist game. Apart from renovating your clinic or investing in better orthodontic appliances, you can also do the following:
Rethink Your Restoration Materials
Time is of the essence with pediatric patients. Instead of racing against a struggling child on the dental chair, have simpler ways to do similar procedures, which can improve the patient’s experience.
For example, consider using flowable composites. These appliances are good for restoring primary teeth quickly, as well as achieving proper adaptation for patients that require small cavity preparations. Also, switch from composite restorations to glass ionomers since these release fluoride, are moisture tolerant, and enables dentists to apply sealants on children they couldn’t do so before.
Create a Child-centric Atmosphere
Children are often hesitant and resistant during their first dental visit. This is why they need more moral support. Establishing a child-centric atmosphere in your practice is the first support. Focus on what the child needs. Will they be more comfortable if their parents are with them? If so, arrange a space to allow their parents to sit with them during their appointment.
Will they be at ease if they watch cartoons while they get their teeth cleaned? Install a TV above the chair so they can watch during the procedure.
Refrain from Using Dental Jargon
Saliva, caries, water syringe, caries — these are words that kids are unable to comprehend, and using ‘alien’ words can add to their fear. Keep the children calm by renaming these objects to something they can easily grasp. For example, call the water syringe a ‘water gun,’ the saliva ejector a ‘vacuum cleaner,’ and more. Get creative with re-naming your tools.
Slowly Walk the Children Through Each Aspect of the Appointment
Gain the child’s trust before you introduce each step of their appointment. Assuring the child nothing will hurt them is the first step. Also, ensure them that you will not make decisions without them.
If a child is uncomfortable with proceeding with the treatment, never force them into it. If a parent insists, refuse and kindly explain that forcing the child will only add to their distress.
The Smallest Gestures Count
Fun toothpaste flavors can add a dash of fun to your patient’s visit. Let the kids choose what flavor of toothpaste they like. Stick with the traditional strawberry, banana, and other basic fruit flavors. Treats after a treatment also work. Lollipops are the basic must-haves for dental practices but kindly remind the parents their child can have them a few days after their procedure.
Going to the dentist can be a pleasant and simple experience for the patient, the parent, and you. Some of these changes require adjustments or investments, but that’s OK. You’ll be the best dentist in the world in the eyes of a child.