Dr. Wrinch and Dr. Watt and their dental team are committed to providing quality family dentistry in a caring environment using the most current techniques and equipment.
Dental Care For Children
Before the Appointment…
We would like our little people to have as pleasant a dental experience as possible. How children cope during a dental experience, is highly dependent on how we as parents manage the situation ahead of time. If you have ever experienced anxieties related to dental treatment, it is probably best not to say too much to your child before the scheduled appointment. That is, be very nonchalant. Anxious parents who unknowingly bring up future dental appointments over and over again (in an attempt to reassure a child) usually pass on their anxieties to the child. Your child may think 'why are my parents talking so much about this visit? Are they worried for me?' Never use phrases like 'it won't hurt' or 'the needle is small/doesn't hurt'; instead of being reassured, a child may question the negative that has been addressed.
In today's world, modern dentistry has come a long way. Techniques to administer local anaesthetic ('freezing'), and to complete fillings, cleanings have changed for the better, and can be done very atraumatically. Often a child is not even aware that s/he has been given treatment. And remember, our minds love to play tricks and allow us to manifest small issues into big ones! Dental personnel who routinely treat children are now well trained to manage situations that a parent might find daunting.
Only a parent knows when his/her child will be at his 'best' - that is, when a child is most rested, well fed and therefore best prepared for a potentially stressful situation. In general, we find that appointments made late in the day for young children are usually not successful as children are often tired and hungry at this time of day. PLEASE schedule appointments for your child appropriately.
One of the best methods to prepare children for anxiety-free dental visits is to bring them with you for your appointments. Our office policy regarding children is to foster happy relationships with the dental team - do not be apprehensive with bringing your children and allowing them to explore the office while watching you having treatment in a warm, stress-free environment. There are common sense exceptions, of course - do not bring your child with you for long appointments when you child cannot be properly watched, or if you feel that you may exhibit stressful body language during your appointment. Having a child watch an anxious parent will NOT foster a relaxed atmosphere for your child.
During the Appointment…
Generally, children fare much better when their parents are not present in the operatory during treatment. This is especially true when you are fearful or anxious yourself. Our children read body language better than we realize! Parents who tightly clutch a child's hands, show worried faces (even just the whites of your eyes), fidget in front of a child never make a situation easier for the child. Often a parent is not even aware that they are behaving in such a manner. School age children are especially susceptible to 'stories' from friends or siblings. Reassure your child by addressing his/her concerns appropriately. For example, a child afraid of being 'hurt' could be reassured by being told that the dentist has gentle hands for little mouths. Don't use words such as 'pain, hurt or fear' as they reinforce negative thoughts. Also reassure your child by reinforcing to them that Mommy/Daddy would never bring them to someone who doesn't care about them. A child who is worried about the 'needle' could be reassured by being told that the dentist may not even use one. Check with the dentist prior to the appointment - many treatments for children, even fillings, do not require local anaesthetic (needle). Never use the word 'needle' to explain a treatment, even if it going to be used. Patients never see local anaesthetic being administered and will only feel minor discomforts (which can be appropriately explained by the dental team). If you have any concerns about how to answer specific questions, please ask us and we will be happy to help you.
After the Appointment…
Again, do not reassure your child after an appointment by making statements like 'see it didn't hurt' - these approaches cause a child to subconsciously worry about when it might hurt. The best thing a parent can do to reinforce good behavior and warm relationships at the dental office is to strengthen self-esteem with statements such as 'you were such a help to the dentist/dental assistant while she was counting/cleaning/fixing your teeth. It sure is hard to keep your mouth open but you did it well!'
Children who have received local anaesthetic may be frozen for sometime afterwards. This is dependent on how much was used and the child's metabolism. Try to have your child eat before his/her appointment (hungry children don't cope as well with any situation), and choose an appropriate time which will not immediately be followed by a meal, so there is less chance unknowingly biting a tongue or cheek, causing temporary discomfort and soft tissue damage.
Finally, try not to reward your child with unhealthy food after a dental visit (use something else). A child who comes out of the dental office after being educated about brushing, flossing and not eating unhealthy food too frequently, will perceive these messages as conflicting or worse, unimportant. If Mom/Dad immediately buys a milkshake, a child may think ' we are eating a junk food and then I'm not brushing my teeth afterwards - I guess that Mommy/Dad doesn't listen to the dentist either'. Let's not pass on our poor oral hygiene habits to our children!