I was at our family dentist when one of the assistants came back and asked a parent sitting in the waiting room if they could use restraints because their child wasn’t cooperating. I was horrified. Why would you want to restrain a child? I have a child and have always gone back with her and there’s never been an issue.
There are a couple of different types of restraints when it comes to dentistry. The first is a mouth prop and it’s designed to keep the child’s mouth open throughout a procedure. In all honesty, it would be irresponsible not to use this type.
A dental practitioner I know recently told a story about when he was in dental school. He and a friend were doing their pediatric rotation. During a routine filling, the child unexpectedly bit down, pushing the drill down into the pulp of the tooth. Now, instead of a filling, the child required a pulpotomy and dental crown.
That type of trauma is so easy to eliminate using a mouth prop. It’s a simple piece of equipment which keeps a child’s mouth open during the procedure.
When Pediatric Patients are Uncooperative
Most of the time, a good pediatric dentist or even a general dentist who works with children, is able to calm them down and find out what’s worrying them to put them at ease. However, sometimes anxiety is too much for them and using some mild form of dental sedation, such a nitrous oxide is all that is needed to get them relaxed.
Usually, that works and it’s enough to get a patient, even a frightened child, through their appointment. Every once in a while, though, you come across a child who has an urgent issue and they are too upset to be cooperative and calm down. There are some tooth infections that can become life-threatening and have to be treated like a dental emergency and dealt with immediately.
That’s when a dentist will sometimes use a restraint. It’s not the type of restraint that often comes to mind. It’s more a papoose board, such as the one pictured directly above. It wraps the child tightly. That itself often calms them down or at least lets them understand this treatment is important and they’re not going to fight their way out of it. When that happens, many children just fall asleep and the treatment goes off without a hitch.
I hope this puts your mind at ease.
This blog is brought to you by Hoffman Estates Dentist Dr. William Becker.