Children are far better patients than adults. Many people may not believe this, but I actually prefer children to adults, despite the initial trouble of getting a child to sit on the dental chair. They are more cooperative and less fidgety. Adults talk a lot during treatment and often do not follow the line of treatment. Children, on the other hand, listen more, ask sensible and logical questions and also have a greater capacity to bear pain.
It is a challenge, though, to get a child to the dental chair. They often get scared seeing a doctor surrounded by strange instruments. But this happens even when children go to a hair dresser for the first time. The trick is to understand that the child is neither a dummy nor a miniature adult. We have to understand the cause of fear and explain the procedure to them calmly, even strictly at times. I explain the entire procedure to them. The only difference is the way I put it. For example, children are scared of the word ‘injection’ since it is associated with pain. I tell them that they might feel a prick but it will help them for the rest of the procedure. It works.But there are also some difficult and annoying children who scream their lungs out and refuse to listen. We have to be stern with them and have different medicines and general anaesthesia to carry out the procedure. These days, gadgets like iPhones keep them distracted.
Most children come with complaints of cavities, which is primarily due to lack of dental hygiene. This happens due to negligence by parents who think that their milk teeth will anyway fall off. But this is a myth. Decayed milk teeth could lead to problems with permanent teeth.
Not many people know about paedodontists in India. I usually get my patients through my own network of doctors and patients.
(This person has been a practising paedodontist for seven years)
As told to Aanchal Bansal