Friday, February 29, 2008

Dentist problems

I'll admit I'm not a fan of dentists, but I duly attend my bi-annual check ups, and I do the best I can. When it came time for my son to visit the dentist, at around age 3, we chose a large pediatric dental practice right in town, in the same building as my husband's doctor. It seemed like a good idea at the time. But as I've experienced this practice over the years (5 years now), I've become less and less enamored of it.

The hygienists are very chirpy and friendly, and clearly have had a lot of training with kids, but they really don't get J. He is quite fearful of being there, and really hates having people go into his mouth to work. He gags quite a bit (as I do), and particularly hates the x-rays. I try to be sympathetic, but also insist that he go through with the procedures (which doesn't always work). But it seems to be getting worse and worse. And, like me, he has a small mouth and large teeth, and he will need extractions and braces. So he will need to spend a lot of time at the dentist/orthodontist, and it would help if he were more comfortable there.

One thing I particularly hate about this practice is the large procedure room they have. You know how you go to the dentist and typically see your provider in a small, private room? Here, they work on the kids in a large open room with about 10 chairs placed all over the room. There is absolutely no privacy. So if J starts freaking out, everyone there will hear. This just isn't a good situation for him.

So I'm looking for a new dentist for J. Someone who will take their time, really make him comfortable, and go at his pace. Someone who will not deny his fears, but who will empathize and help him deal with them. If you happen to know anyone in the Boston area who has these qualities, let me know.


Anonymous said...

If the provider is a large enough practice, they should have private rooms for a child who needs it. Typically, the thought process behind an "open" treatment area is children can see behavior of other children and see that no harm is being done to them and fears are alleviated. This technique does work for many kids, but perhaps your son is one that should have a private room per your instinct. Don't hesitate to mention your concerns to your provider.

Anonymous said...

Dental problems are among the most common health problems experienced by older adults.
Dental problems can lead to poor nutrition. Unfortunately, these problems are often not attended to by older persons, particularly men.