Let Me Ask You -- Should You Treat Their Kids?
How and When?
As a young dentist, I remember feeling the exhilaration of the possibilities of helping children. Therein lies worth to a young mother and to a young dentist, imprinted with the passion for helping children.
After all, what more is there, than helping to make the best life for my child and for other children?
One day, in the clinic at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry, covering pediatric dental residents, I watched one of the residents impassionately counsel a young mother with baby in stroller and two toddlers beside. The resident explained the etiology of dental decay in this mom’s young children.
Because it was a residency program, we could spend the extra time with the parents - even when they had Medicaid coverage that didn’t pay much for that time. But today, this sweet mom and the pediatric resident had reviewed the four etiologic areas:
1. The "bugs" (bacterial plaque);
2. Food for the bugs (contribution of sugar and carbohydrates),
3. The teeth (tooth enamel and how well it resists the former two), and
4. Diluting the acids (saliva, content, volume, and hydration).
They had gone through the solutions to each:
1. Plaque control/oral hygiene practices,
2. Dietary changes to reduce sugar and carbs,
3. Regular recalls so the dentist can help evaluate how the enamel and teeth are doing, and
4. Lots of water intake.
Whew! This mom was “armed”.
She would work on brushing and flossing her children’s teeth, she said.
She was already careful with sugar, juices, soft drinks, etc., and rarely gave those, she said.
She would stay regular with the recalls, she said.
I helped her, as she wheeled the stroller out of the operatory and corralled the two toddlers.
“Hold up!” I exclaimed as I noted red liquid pouring out of the diaper bag in the stroller basket. Something was leaking.
“Uh oh,” said Mom. “It’s the Kool-Aid,” she stammered. “Sorry - I didn’t want you to see that.” (And it was in a baby bottle.)
Reboot. Now what?
Let’s regroup here. Take me - that passionate, loving, caring young mother who wanted to help children. Take you - the same. Life lessons in pediatric dentistry:
As the saying goes, “What is it that the rich cannot buy, and cannot be given to the poor? It is health.” Dental health is only reachable by the interested, willing and capable persons.
Put your passion, your energy, your love to all, and focus on the children whose parents partner with you in prevention. Then you will have given what you can - to those who will willingly take and use it!
We talk about this in ELEMENTS weekend seminars! Ask us about "chickens to concierge practice."
It’s amazing stuff!!
Dr Chris Baker
Dr. Chris Baker is Past President of the American Orthodontic Society, a pediatric dentist and teacher of orthodontics, An author, dental practice consultant, mentor, and a current or former faculty member of three U.S. dental schools, Dr Chris is based in glorious Texas, USA. but lectures around the world.
Text and images
© 2019 Dr Chris Baker