By Alex Styles, Dental Nurse.
One day last year, I noticed that an emergency appointment had been booked into the dentist’s diary just before lunch. Although I love my job, sometimes things can get very hectic and pressured, and that particular day had been a busy one! If I‘m honest I was also hungry and looking forward to my lunch so I secretly hoped would be something simple so as not to run into my well-deserved lunchbreak!
I went to fetch the patient from the waiting room and discovered an incredibly tearful and apprehensive 7 year old boy waiting with his mum.
His mother explained that it was a battle getting him to see a dentist in the first place, as he had a fear of dentists (he had had a bad experience with a different dentist the previous year). After sitting with him for 5 minutes or so and talking to him calmly, I had reassured him that nothing bad would happen and that we were only going to have a look and count his teeth.
Once I had managed to eventually cajole him into the dentist’s room I gently helped him on to the chair so the dentist could assess the damage. It turned out he had fallen over in the playground and had chipped his front teeth rather badly (including a very red nose and chin). This was made worse by the fact that they were newly erupted adult teeth.
The dentist and I explained to him that we could either fix his teeth and make them nice again, or leave them as they were. We did let him know that because these were his “big boy teeth”, these ones would stay in for good now! We told him that we wanted to make them look as nice as possible for when the rest of his other teeth come through.
He tentatively agreed, that yes, he wanted to keep his teeth looking nice.We got out all the materials for a composite filling and showed him how each bit works. A seven year old’s natural curiosity soon overtook his initial fears.We explained that “we use etch to wash the teeth, bond as the shampoo, composite as the conditioner and the light as the hairdryer!” Once he heard this it sounded like real fun. I placed a bib over him and gave him a pair of our “cool dude” sunglasses and then started to build his teeth back up. The whole time he was holding my hand so he could squeeze tightly if he wanted us to stop. He never squeezed once! After we had finished he couldn’t believe that it was actually over and didn’t hurt at all. His mother was astonished and incredibly grateful that he had sat still for us. We rewarded him with 2 stickers (one for each tooth!) and sent him off with smiles and waves.
The following week the boy and his mother came back in with a ‘Thank you’card. Inside was a hand drawn picture by the boy of him playing with a nice big smile on his face.
For further information or advice contact College Street Dental Centre in Petersfield, Hampshire on 01730 263180