Why My Children Do Not Fear the Dentist12:51 AM
Much as I try very hard not to show my fear of dentists, I have to admit it is still here in me. This is probably a result of combined experiences with dental pain, dentists who seemed unsympathetic to my obvious fear, and the generally cold and impersonal atmosphere of a dental clinic. Walking into one straight into the dental chair seemed like a death sentence of some sort. Fortunately, it is a different story for my children and let me tell you why.
|The Dental Chair - Feared No More|
Fear of dentists and/or dental procedures is as real as the pain caused by an abscessed tooth. It is not imagined nor exaggerated, especially to the person experiencing it. Moreover, it makes one feel overwhelmed with a feeling of dread that can make a person actually feel physically ill.
People who have dental fear are most likely the ones who have low pain threshold or have gone through a particularly painful dental treatment episode. Others simply feel helpless and not in control sitting on the dental chair, triggering a feeling that is common in all phobias. Dentists must have realized that relaxed patients equal a more pleasant dental treatment experience for everyone, thus the effort to convert a visit to the dentist from a purely clinical one to something which can be shared and recommended to others.
Why My Children Do Not Fear the Dentist
So now we go the main topic of my post which is why my children are not afraid of the dentist. It is true that we learn from experience. If it is to be of any consolation to myself, the "bad" experiences I had in relation to dentists during my childhood taught me what I should do so that my children will not develop dental fear for reasons that can be avoided.
Positive Introduction to Dentists
Perfectly aware that part of my own dental fear stemmed from being introduced to the dentist via an unbearable toothache, I made sure that my own children's experience would be positive. I took care of their teeth while they were too young to do it themselves and instilled in them the importance of learning to do it on their own. Their first visit to the dentist was quite pleasant.
There was no pain to worry about since their teeth were in very good condition. The dentist simply checked their teeth and cleaned them. He even allowed them to choose the flavor they want while he was firing away with children's stories. They even went home with free stickers for behaving very well. That first visit dictated their general attitude towards dentists and that proved beneficial to our family.
Factors to Consider in Choosing a Dental Clinic
Studies conducted among children showed that a high percentage of children-patients prefer a decorated dental clinic rather than a purely white one. The fun atmosphere somehow minimizes the fear factor, allowing a dental visit to become just one ordinary task to be accomplished during a family's day out in a mall. One very good example is the Asian Base Dental Group clinic in Lucky Chinatown Mall in Binondo.
The physical appearance of the dental clinic can set the tone of a child's reaction to it. During my time, the dental clinics we went to were located in medium-rise buildings behind doors that are usually identified by room numbers and the dentist's name only. A small waiting area filled with people would greet me and a closed door not far behind where the dentist treats the patients. I remember waiting for what seemed like ages with no option to go anywhere else even with the long queue.
My work schedule does not give me the luxury of time so I tend to do what needs to be done whenever I get the opportunity. It is our yearly task to have the kids' teeth checked just before every school year starts. We found ourselves in Lucky Chinatown that day as I needed to buy something in Divisoria. It was actually my daughter who pointed to the Asian Base Dental Group clinic. She knows very well that I do not bring them into a dental clinic where they don't feel comfortable.
Since we would need to visit the dentist anyway, I thought we might as well try this dental clinic as aside from the need to have braces, I was confident that my children's teeth will not require much work. However, I needed to be assured of that thus the need for professional dental check-up.
It is a good thing that the dental clinic personnel had the patience to show me around. She must have sensed I wanted some kind of assurance that I made the right decision to enter the clinic. The dental clinic is not big but the space was maximized to achieve an attractive and functional look.
It even had an x-ray room which to me is very convenient. Most dental clinics do not have this facility which would require patients to have their x-ray done elsewhere. I was also very happy to note that the clinic is very clean, well-lighted and appeared to have everything it needs to make a patient's visit very comfortable.
As expected, the dentist confirmed the good condition of my children's teeth and recommended prophylaxis, application of dental sealant to specific teeth as well as fluoride treatment as preventive measures. The dental examination done was comprehensive so that proper notation can be done on the patients' records.
Both my children were advised as well to wear braces, especially my son who had overlapping teeth. We certainly hope to work on that in the near future. The important thing is that we were given a clear explanation of the steps that need to be taken to take care of my children's teeth.
As we all know, it is not only children who need some distracting. Even adults do, so having something entertaining to watch gives patients another thing to do apart from thinking about the dental procedure to be done.
A friendly relationship between dentists and their patients is the most important determinant of whether patients will come back. I personally will never go back to a dentist who makes me feel embarrassed or silly for asking questions. I need to feel secure that I perfectly understand what needs to be done and at what cost. A good dentist will know this and I believe I have found such dentists at Asian Base Dental Group.
My two children are all smiles after their respective treatments. That must be the much touted "Smile Experience" after being treated at the clinic.
Doctor-Patient relationship is really a matter of trust and respect. Dentists who fail to address their patients' fear will not help in making dental treatments easier on both sides. While waiting for our turn, I heard the dentist making arrangements with an anesthesiologists for a particular patient who was requesting to be put to sleep while having his teeth pulled due to extreme fear. After which, she took the time to explain to the patient, who was a fully grown man, what to expect during the procedure in an assuring manner.
That said, that gave me the feeling that my children are in good hands. For a mother like myself, I can't ask for anything more.