We place special emphasis on the experience your child has during his or her treatment. We use several approaches that are very effective in transforming a potentially scary experience into one that is gentle and non-traumatic:
- Preparation by parents – Children largely form their expectations from their parents. What is said and how it is said by parents can make a child relaxed, trusting, and ready, or create a deep sense of fear even before walking into the office. We discourage parents from making statements such as, “Don’t worry, they won’t hurt you” or “It won’t be painful,” or other statements that suggest the possibility of such experiences. Instead, we ask parents to tell stories about “happy teeth” and “a friendly dentist who will make you feel better.” This type of communication helps to build trust and reduces much of a child’s anxiety.
- Develop a dialogue – Whether a child is seen for an evaluation first or the procedure is performed on the first visit, it is crucial for the oral surgeon to spend some time developing a dialogue with them. Simply talking and asking questions about things such as school, favorite sports, hobbies, likes, etc. helps to ease the child’s anxiety. They become comfortable and begin to view the oral surgeon as a friendly and safe person. A 5-10 minute friendly conversation goes a long way in calming a child and promoting their confidence and trust.
- Give them the control – We play a little game that really makes children feel in control and, hence, less anxious. I tell them that they are the captain of the ship or spaceship, and I must follow their orders. I let them know that because they are the captain, I have to ask for permission for everything I do. They must say “yes” before I proceed with the next thing. For example, I ask them if may raise their chair? May I put a towel on them? May I put a mask on their nose? I wait for them to say “yes” before I proceed. If they hesitate, I let them know that is fine and tell them that I will just wait until they let me know that they are ready. In this way, nothing is done without their approval. This simple technique makes them feel engaged in the process and greatly increases their cooperation.
- Anesthesia – IV sedation or nitrous oxide are great anesthesia options to ensure a positive experience for children when undergoing teeth extractions or other oral surgery procedures. These are safe and routine options offered by most oral surgery practices. The recovery is quick, allowing patients to return to school or normal activities within 24 hours. Anesthesia not only helps patients be more comfortable and reduce anxiety, but is also very helpful when removing baby teeth that can be quite complex. In an earlier blog, “There is Nothing Baby About Removing Baby Teeth,” I discussed why such extractions can be difficult.
What is the Best Treatment Approach?
- All necessary extractions should be performed at the same time by the oral surgeon.
- Exposure of the canine is often done at same time the baby canine tooth is removed.
- Any injuries must be managed immediately, either in the office or a hospital as indicated.
- Most procedures take 10-15 minutes. If IV sedation is administered, there will be a 30- to 45-minute recovery period before a child can go home. With nitrous oxide (laughing gas), no recovery time is usually necessary and a child may go home immediately.
Are these Procedures Safe?
Procedures on children are safe and predictable when performed by a trained, skillful, and experienced oral surgeon using specialized instruments and techniques. Dr. Kazemi specializes in pediatric related procedures and has performed them successfully on thousands of children and teens. The office is designed and equipped for surgical procedures for children, and the team assisting Dr. Kazemi is trained specifically for such procedures. Methodical, exacting, and detailed protocols are followed strictly to make sure every child is safe, comfortable, and has a remarkable experience.