I need some advice. My son is six years old and really struggles at the dentist. He won’t sit still and sometimes tries to grab the instruments. Our pediatric dentist puts up with it but now he needs to have a cavity filled and I’m worried about him and the drill. My dentist just suggested we use a papoose board. She showed it to me but I’m not sure I want to go that direction. Is there any other option?
It is not uncommon for young people to struggle with sitting still at the dentist. You are right, though, that you do not want him doing that when a drill is involved. For those who don’t know what a papoose board is, I am going to post an image here.
This is not as scary as it may look to a parent. It’s more like a big hug. It works a bit like the way swaddling does for infants. The wrapping makes the child feel more secure. Most of them calm down very quickly and can even fall asleep.
Another option is to see a family dentist who offers dental sedation options. There are generally two levels of sedation offered. The first is nitrous oxide. This is a gas that he can breathe through a nose piece. It will relax him. However, if his anxiety is high it he will be able to fight off its effects. In that case, he’d be better off using oral conscious sedation. This is so strong that he will sleep through the procedure and likely not even remember it. He will be groggy for a few hours after the procedure as well.
Either one of these procedures will help your son get the care he needs. What you don’t want is to put off treatment. Cavities have a way of turning into tooth infections when left untreated. You do not want him to end up with a dental emergency.
This blog is brought to you by Kalamazoo Dentist Dr. Susan Dennis.