Never Fear, the Dentist Is Here
Barry Jacobsen, DMD, is the Redman family dentist. "We
always start with behavior management [but] if child is not manageable, we use
sedation," he says. In fact, he sedates Kyle and Kellman at times to make
the procedures go more quickly and smoothly.
According to the study, many dentists are still wary of using
anesthesia with young children, but certain pain management techniques can be
safe -- and useful.
"A child's biggest anxiety is usually fear of the
unknown," says Jay Levy, DDS, a dentist in New York, who sees a fair share
of young patients.
"The way that we deal with that anxiety is to bring the
child into the office when another child is being treated to show them what it
is like and what goes on," he says. Called the modelling technique, this
method often pairs a timid child with a cooperative child of similar age.
Levy also uses the "tell-show-do" method. This
technique involves naming a dental instrument, demonstrating the instrument by
using it to count on a child's fingers, then using the device.
"These tend to work quite well," he tells WebMD.
Moreover, these days, children are less likely to have cavities
than older children. This cuts down on painful procedures. In fact, half of
school-aged children never have a cavity because of fluoridated water supplies,
which helps fight tooth decay.
"Children should see a dentist every six months for a lot
of reasons, such as to see how their bite is developing and to check for
cavities and gum disease," he says.
"An undiagnosed cavity in a child's tooth may have a
permanent effect on adult teeth," Levy says.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry agrees. They say
most children should have a dental check-up at least twice a year. Some
children may need more frequent visits because of increased risk of tooth
decay, unusual growth patterns, or poor oral hygiene.