Dentist’s role in a child’s behavior in the dental office
The management of children who show non-cooperative and disruptive behavior is one of the most significant challenges for dental practitioners. Lack of cooperation in a child not only affects the procedure and quality of dental treatment but also raises some degree of stress in the dentist. Some children might not accommodate plans designed for them. This may happen as many factors can influence the behavior of children in the dental situation. Though some factors are not under the control of a dentist. But knowledge of certain aspects and influences on a child’s behavior can be of major help in clinical practice. There are many factors which a dentist can modify, to help the child throughout dental appointments.
Factors under the control of a Dentist
Dental Clinic Environment
- A pleasant clinic environment helps the children to be relieved of anxiety about their dental situation. This can be done by keeping the dental clinic environment warm and homely. Taking advantage of the comfortable environment healthy communication with the child should be established.
- The operating environment can be made colorful and lively with posters, TV, video games, toys, storybooks and comics.
- The dental auxiliary should be kind to the children and should greet them with a smile to make them feel at ease.
- Children tend to be restless so their appointment times should always be kept short. Early morning appointments are preferable for younger children.
Effect of dentist’s activity and attitudes
- Data gathering and observation
- Observation involves perceiving overt and subtle behavioral characteristics of a child which provide clues as to how he should be approached by the dentist and staff.
- Observation begins with noting the waiting room behavior of the child, including the interaction with the parent. Information about a child and his/her parents can even be obtained by a formal or informal office interview or by a written questionnaire.
- Once in the operatory and during treatment, the child’s response to the new sights, sounds, and smells of the dental office and his manner when responding to directions from the dentist should also be observed.
The local injection procedure is an example of when externalization is often required.
Several ways in which dentists can provide empathy and support include:
- Permit children to express their feelings of fear, anger, and desires, without rejecting them. Communicating to children that their reactions are understood.
- Comforting children when it is appropriate. This can be done by careful choice of words, by the tone of voice or by touching the child and giving a reassuring pat or hug.
- Encouraging children when they show acceptable behavior. Listening to children’s comments when they wish to talk.
Effect of the dentist’s attire
The attire worn by dentists varies from a surgical gown or white clinic jacket to a shirt and tie or open-necked shirt.
So far no study has attempted to evaluate the specific effect of the dentist’s attire on children’s behavior. Although it has been stated that if a child has previously experienced a stressful situation that included the presence of someone in clinical attire such as a physician – the mere appearance of a white-clothed individual would be sufficient to evoke negative behavior.
Effect of the length and the time of day of the appointment
The earlier dental literature has stressed that appointments for children should be short, possibly because of the short attention span of children. However, with the advent of high-speed instrumentation and subsequently increased efficiency, the length of a typical appointment has been reduced.
Understanding the child’s behavior is important for a dentist to give the child proper dental care. Positively enforcing psychology can help remove dental anxiety and make children comfortable with the dental setup. For comfortable and friendly dental treatments Do visit Dr. Siva Nagini at Raghavendra Colony, Kondapur for your healthy smile.