April 18, 2018 0 Comments

Working with high risk dental patients at any age

Like many dentists, I have seen dreadful cases of tooth decay in children and in 2016 over 40,000 children had teeth extracted in hospital by general anaesthetic. Often children are not brought to the dentist until they are older; whereas even newly born children and their parents should visit as early as possible – certainly before teething commences. The oral health of children is a joint responsibility between dental teams, government, patients and their carers. Dentists can play a vital role, providing preventive treatment, advice and support.

Atticus, is now five years old. Three years ago, two days short of his second birthday, Atticus went into hospital for a general anaesthetic in order to have six of his top front teeth extracted. The teeth were so decayed that they were actually crumbling away and extraction was the only viable option. Like many patients do, Atticus presented to us with very high needs. But our message to him and the others is consistent. “We can work together to make your teeth normal and ensure you never have any more teeth taken out.”

After his extractions, Atticus was understandably reluctant to brush his teeth. I decided that the best approach was to combine something new in oral healthcare with a ‘chair side’ approach to try and quell the fears through curiosity and the gradual building of trust. Part of the solution to allaying Atticus’ fears and overcoming historical oral healthcare issues was to show Atticus the latest in electric toothbrush technology. This was another stimulus to encourage him to change his behaviour.

Now five years old, Atticus’ oral hygiene has dramatically improved and so has his self-confidence! Although he
will continue to be monitored, he does not need any further dental work. Read Atticus’ full story here.