If you’re a dentist who treats kids then you probably already know that you need to expect the unexpected. Kids can be difficult patients, especially if they’ve been getting the ‘lowdown’ from their friends about what will happen to them in the chair.
Keeping kids calm, entertained and allaying their fears is a challenge, but these are all things you need to consider if you want to give them a pleasing dental experience. If you can turn their fears into a favourable or even fun experience, it will stay with them into adulthood.
Apart from being aware of behavioural signals, there are various ways you can keep kids – and parents – positive about their dental experience.
1. Have a consultation first
Make their first appointment just a consultation so you can examine and take X-rays.
Use positive language and tell them that you’re going to check their smile and make sure they have clean, strong, healthy teeth. Make the visit seem fun rather than alarming.
Having a chat with kids about the procedure, what instruments you’ll use, and what they can expect will go a long way to reassure them, especially older children.
Sometimes you’ll need to reassure the parents more than the kids, if the parents are calm and know what’s happening then the kids will often be ok. It’s incredible how much stress can affect your children!
2. Atmosphere and decoration
If you treat kids a lot, then hiring staff members who are in tune with children and are family oriented is a good idea to minimise anxiety in your practice.
Another idea is to designate part of your waiting room to keep kids distracted, so they’re not focusing on being at the dentist. This could have pleasing pictures on the walls, a toy box, an activity table, cartoons playing on the TV or iPads with games.
For older kids, you could get a Playstation, Wii or Xbox console, hook Netflix up to your TV, get crowdDJ and connect it to a business Spotify account, or provide some modern board games like A Game of Thrones and Harry Potter Cluedo.
If kids have fun while they’re waiting, they’re more likely to want to come back.
3. Modern technology/equipment that’s not intimidating
A dentist’s surgery can be overwhelming for kids because of all the equipment. But if you show it to them and explain what each piece is and what it does, then they’ll be more confident of the procedure. Having equipment that works seamlessly, and that you operate confidently, will allow children to rest assured that you know what you’re doing.
Of course, you will encounter kids who are extremely fearful of being in pain and not take in anything you’re saying. To perform high-quality work safely, you may have to enlist the help of a general anaesthetic or a sedative to ensure minimal pain and discomfort.
Another factor you can enlist in creating a positive dental experience is a quality dental chair to make kids more comfortable.
4. Distract them when they’re lying back in the chair
For older kids, having some audiovisual devices such as a ceiling-mounted TV screen or an iPad with some music videos or movies can be a good distraction. With younger kids, you could try ‘Where’s Wally’, spot the difference posters or hidden object puzzles on the ceiling.
Giving kids a small toy or a sticker for good behaviour and being brave at the end of their visit is a great way to reinforce their positive dental experience. Colouring in pages are also very popular.
Fill your dental practice with equipment that is durable, hard working and which seamlessly integrates into your existing systems to ensure confidence of operation. Shop at Dental Depot today to ease your patients’ minds by knowing that they’re receiving the most efficient services with the most innovative and cutting edge technology.
Are you interested in getting new dental equipment for your dental practice? Contact us today!