With over half of adults experiencing some form of dental anxiety, imagine how scary it can be for a child! Caring for the little ones as a Dental Nurse can be both challenging and rewarding. You can see children overcome fears and develop as they grow up but also must cope with traumatised patients. Unfortunately, there are not many Dental practices specialising in paediatrics but rather it is a part of the role to understand both adult and child care.
It is important to encourage parents to take their children for their first dental visit as early as possible to ensure a successful visit and to discourage any anxiety in later life. This is a great opportunity to make visits fun and for young patients to feel they are in a safe environment. Teaching them a bit about all the equipment and the makeup of their teeth can spark an interest and curiosity in children and even in some occasions make them eager to come back. Childhood fears of the dentist can come from their parents if they have their own anxiety of visits. It is suggested little ones should visit the dentist as early as 2 years old for their first check-up.
As a Dental Nurse, you can be expected to help keep children calm and often distract them during certain treatments. This can be turned into a bit of a game to bond with your patients. Dental Nurse Sylvia Bourgeois adopts a differing tone “using words like: sleepy juice (local anaesthetic), sally straw (suction), mashed potatoes (impression plaster), and bubble-gum gel (topical gel) – as well as referring to the tooth fairy, of course.”
If you are looking to specifically work in paediatric dental care, the role can be very demanding physically and time consuming by looking after full families at a time depending on the circumstances. Also, it is important to remember that children can often be unpredictable or uncooperative meaning appointments may need more time with fearful or disruptive patients. The benefits far outweigh this as nothing is more rewarding than a child’s smile. Simply being there to hold the young patients hand during the treatment process can be enough.
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