Dr Alif Moosajee (AKA The Smiling Dentist) talks about the best way to help child patients feel more comfortable in the dental chair.
I find treating children unpredictable.
It is very ‘high risk/high reward’!
Sometimes children are very belligerent and will not allow you to examine them at all.
Sometimes your child patient will behave really well and allow you to examine them and even do treatment. I find that when this happens and the treatment is successful, then it is a hugely rewarding experience and a feeling of satisfaction (that’s hard to match) quickly follows.
For me the sense of unease happens when a child patient will sometimes allow you to do part of the treatment, but can then get very upset when a more difficult part of the treatment ends up being more challenging for them. Often they can become very upset and you find that the treatment cannot be completed in a satisfactory way.
Making childrens’ appointments easier
Unfortunately the stakes are really high. After all, no one wants to be the dentist that puts a child off dentistry for life!
Although I must admit it is not full proof, the thing that has helped me to regain control is to try to address the child and not talk to them through the parent.
I find that if I kneel down and address the child directly and try to explain what I’m going to do without patronising them then that seems to have been the best strategy for success.
I also try to be as positive as possible. We can do this by empowering children so that they understand that these procedures are not as bad as they might think.
I also find that trying to make procedures as easy for children as possible has also been a sound strategy.
For example, one of the best bonuses I’ve had from investing in digital scanning equipment is that I no longer have to take impressions on my child patients. That’s definitely something that has improved the quality of my practising life. And also the quality of the experience that my young patients get.
I really hope that you enjoy this month’s video which features my daughter Anni.
We wanted to collate questions from children and answer them in as open and honest a way as possible
I really hope you like the result.
Catch previous digital dentist columns:
- Understanding occlusion
- Gaining (digital) consent
- Introducing The digital dentist.
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