We recently relocated to another state. I am getting the children set up with their new caregivers. Normally, I just sign the papers they have me sign without reading them. I happened to skim them this time when I came across something that shocked me. It was asking my approval to use restraints on my children. I lied and told them I had a family emergency and left. Why would you ever need to use restraints on children at the dentist? I went to the dentist my whole life and not once were restraints even brought up. Is this a new thing?
This isn’t a new thing, but I think your potential pediatric dentist could have given some explanation. One of the most important things for you to look at when looking for a dentist for your children is for the dentist as well as the rest of the office to answer questions when you have concerns. Communication is so important when it comes to any type of medical care.
In dentistry, the are two basic types of restraints. The first is for the bite. The other for the body.
The materials pictured directly above are mouth props. These are essential and should be used even with a cooperative child. One of my colleagues told me a story from his dental school days. A fellow student was drilling a cavity on a child. Everything was going smoothly when the child suddenly bit down. This caused the drill to go through the pulp of the tooth. Now, instead of a simple filling this child had to undergo a full pulpotomy, which is the child’s equivalent of a root canal treatment. This was easily preventable had the child had a mouth prop in.
The second type of restraint is a pappose board (pictured directly above). This wraps a child up tightly as well as keeps their head still. While I wouldn’t go to a dentist who uses this as a matter of course, there are times when a child has a dental emergency but is not cooperative that this becomes essential. Most dentists who treat children prefer to find other ways of dealing with a fearful child. However, in emergency situations, this is an important back up option. In general, children, once they are in the papoose calm down completely.
If you have a child who is particularly anxious at the dentist and uncooperative, you may want to look for a pediatric dentist who also offers dental sedation. This will help with their anxiety.
This blog is brought to you by Portage, MI Dentist Dr. Susan Dennis.