I am joined by Paediatric Dentist Dr Libi Almuzian who is so passionate about Paeds!
There were so many knowledge bombs that I made broke this in to a 2 part series. Part 1 (this episode) will focus on Communication and Prevention, and Part 2 will be a bit more clinical with specific scenarios discussed.
If you love seeing Children, you will gain a lot from this episode, but if you currently do NOT like Paediatric Dentistry, Dr Libi shares her top tips to help you!
- How to make a dental visit more playful
- Techniques in managing children co-operation
- Importance of creating a no blame culture and gaining and trust of the
- How you can use an App called Social stories to get maximum engagement with the child patient (this is genius!)
- We reveal what the MOST IMPORTANT Question to ask your paediatric patient history taking! (this may surprise you!)
- Lots and lots of techniques shared to improve communication with children and the flow of the appointment during operative procedures
- Dr Libi reveals The Sugar Bug Story – you will LOVE this.
- Top tips for prevention!
Any downloads promised (SDCEP guidelines, references to apps) are compartmentalised in the Protrusive Dental Community group (closed group), or also viewable below:
Here are Dr Libi’s top tips for Dentists:
1. Wear something or have a prop which might be familiar to a child (character sunglasses, a toy, a sticker of a character on your scrubs) This will break the ice and give you something to talk about.
2. Be excited! Your excitement will rub off on them. When you collect them from reception tell them how happy you are to see them and how excited you are about the visit today (So excited to meet your teeth!/ count your teeth!).
3. Teach your nurse to distract the child when you need to talk to the parents, this will make them less worried when you talk to the parents in a more formal manner.
4. Never use an instrument without introducing it, even a sharp probe can be introduced in a way that makes it non-threatening (show them the probe and tell them it helps you to be able to tell if something is hard or soft, then run the side (not the tip!) of it along their nail and fingertip and say “see, now I know your nail is hard and your finger is soft, I’m going to do the same with your tooth to check it”
5. Use child friendly words, even if they make no sense, in fact better if they don’t make sense! This actually makes them laugh and relax.
6. Even if the child is cooperative they will lose patience, so always go for the simplest treatment option with the least steps involved. That way you will retain their cooperation rather than lose it, so go for a Hall crown rather than conventional filling when you can because there is less of a treatment burden involved.
7. If you lose cooperation, try to do something (anything) before they leave, this will build their confidence and stop any avoidance behaviour. For example if you were trying to do a sealant or other treatment and were not able to, reassure them that sometimes it can be hard for some people to do this procedure the first time but they will definitely manage something easier, then apply fluoride (if they are not due a fluoride treatment then even just painting their teeth with water and a micro brush will help build their confidence), just remember to explain to the parents why you are doing this.
8. Motivate the parents to talk positively about the visit when they’re at home, tell them to only refer to the positive aspects and give them a goal to work towards, for example, next time we will polish your teeth with the dentist’s special electric toothbrush and it will tickle, how exciting!
9. Be empathetic with parents, tell them you know it’s difficult it is to brush twice for two minutes, when the day is so busy and the children are so squirmy! Acknowledge the difficulty of controlling sugars and give them one goal like cutting out juice during the weekdays. Small achievable goals are easier to accept and praise them for their efforts in caring to make a change.
10. In your notes write what the child likes so you can talk about it the next time they come in and they will feel special that you “remember”. Also note anything the child really dislikes during examination and treatment, this will save you time the next visit (if they like the chair to be moved before they sit on it and not while they’re sitting, or if they like to move it themselves), if you don’t upset them they will trust you more and they will feel special that you are considerate of their feelings.
BONUS TIP: Sing! The singing dentist has the right idea! It doesn’t matter if you’re good or bad at singing, just the fact that you are singing will distract and relax them. My favourite is Disney songs!
Also I think it’s important for dentists to realise that if they are unable to treat a child under their time constraints this is not a failure on their part, there is a reason why there are paediatric dentists and why they undergo 3 years of additional training and that is because there are some children who need more than they can provide and that’s ok. A referral can make a big difference to a child who might need extra attention to complete their treatment in a way that will give them confidence in the dental environment and enable future treatment with ease.
If you found this useful – Dr Libi shared a very good Paediatric Dentistry Blog aimed at Dentists called Tooth FaiRead
Dr Libi runs a very active and informative Facebook page Dr Libi’s Toothfairy Tips
Dr Libi’s Instragam page: @drlibi