By Gerardo Martinez, DMD
For some people just the thought of going to the dentist can be stressful. This is not an irrational fear. After all, dentistry is very much in your face type of deal, literally!
Dentists are usually well inside the boundaries of personal space. We also like to have our patients reclined back in a vulnerable position with a bright light pointing right at their face and that is before any of the less enjoyable stuff begins! The wonderful tastes, the yummy smells, the delightful numbness and the occasional gagging!
My first experience at the dentist was when I was around 8 years old. I can vividly remember when the assistant called my name and asked me to follow her to the dental chair. I did so without hesitation, my head held high.
But it was not long before my bravery started to wane, by the time I made it to the chair my head was still held high but merely to be on the lookout and prepared to fight or flight!
Within a few minutes of being sat down the dental assistant starts to head toward my chair with a Stainlesssteel tray on hand and metal instruments making an ominous sound as they roll around on the tray. I see my opportunity to escape vanishing with every step she takes and before she could even put the tray down, I bolted out of the chair and I was out of there! The visit was not successful, and the experience gave me valuable insight into the fears and anxieties children can experience.
Pediatric dentistry is a dynamic field with a wide range of treatment options, philosophies and objectives. Just like the toothpaste isle at your local supermarket the options can sometimes be overwhelming and difficult for parents to clearly understand.
Our focus when proposing treatment recommendations revolves around what is in the best interest of the child and their health. This often means less invasive options that can be handled better by young children without the need for numbing or drilling. The use of silver diamine fluoride (SDF) a liquid medication that helps inactivate tooth decay has dramatically reduced the number of children requiring extensive treatment. SDF works by allowing the tooth the opportunity to heal itself by forming a protective layer that functions similarly to a scab on a scraped knee.
At Delaware Pediatric Dentistry we are committed to providing child centered dental care in a friendly environment for all children. It is our goal to empower patients and families with the tools and knowledge to fight against dental decay.
Dental caries or “cavities” commonly known as tooth decay is the most common preventable chronic disease in children. It was called a “silent epidemic” in the 2000 surgeons general report on oral health. Most children will experience dental caries by the time they reach kindergarten, and many suffer from chronic pain that impacts their quality the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend all children establish a dental home by their first birthday.
Infant exams are the perfect time to review prevention and evaluate for any possible tongue or lip ties and other growth and development issues.