I believe that it is especially important to have a holistic approach with a child, as their experiences within the dental office will shape their attitude towards their future dental health. We, as dentists, are trained to repair teeth, but the primary concern is that the child has positive experiences within the dental office. It is important to have a warm, friendly staff and dentist that will do all that is possible short of using general sedation to have the visits be successful.
It is sad to see that some children have so much decay ravage that the best thing for the child would be some form of sedation during treatment. The variables involved in having success as to the child’s comfort are:
· The child’s ability to cooperate. Past negative experiences may preclude success, but many times these can be reversed through new, positive experiences.
· Child’s ability to trust in general, having to do with family attitudes.
· As mentioned, the amount of damage that has been done by decay. Some extensive procedures require time beyond the child’s ability to withstand, therefore sedation could be necessary. I refer these children to a pediatric specialist.
What the Dental Wellness Center offers that is different from traditional practices:
· Time taken to discover whether the child is a candidate for the practice based on the above information.
· Reversing the mouth decay environment through testing, applying decay-reversing protocols and re-testing.
· Involving the child and parents in their preventive care, not seeing the child only as a passive object to be treated. True health has more to do with what the patient (parent) does while away from the office than what is done within it. The testing and decay reversing protocols are done at home as well as in the office.
· Using safe materials that don’t contain mercury.
· Using a mercury safe protocol during the removal of mercury fillings (to learn more see “Mercury in Your Mouth.")
· Expertise in the function of teeth, often overlooked. Referral to an orthodontist trained not only in developing proper appearance, but healthy function as well.