Dentistry for children has been a satisfying, rewarding and exciting profession for me! The satisfaction comes to me when I see a child getting benefited from the treatment, the rewards are mainly financial and the excitement is entirely because of the child management skills that I have acquired and am still eager to learn!
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Often, I hear my colleagues in dentistry talking negatively about pediatric dentistry. Many of them feel that treating children is difficult and time-consuming. Often, I am asked a question when I meet them, or whenever I interact with a group of dentists: How do you manage children for their dental treatments? This question is not an easy one to answer! The reason being that it cannot be answered in a sentence or in a minute! Dentistry now has many advances that have been learnt and practised by most general dentists reasonably well. Endodontics, for example, has been the mainstay of most clinical practices due to a fact that most dentists are now assured of a certain predictability of endodontic success and are able to impart the confidence to their patients who opt for endodontic treatments. Why is endodontics successful and predictable? There exist a few rules, ‘ABC’s of its success such as: adequate anesthesia, proper case selection, good access preparation, thorough cleaning and shaping, apical seal, and so on.
As most dentists are now well versed with these ABCs of endodontics, the treatments are successful and yield predictable outcomes. Similarly, the ‘Child Management in Dentistry’ has its own set of rules (ABCs) that have to be studied and implemented for attaining similar success. What are these rules? I have learnt these rules (ABCs) observing children while treating them, reading a few books and articles of eminent Pediatric Dentists from the Western world, and through interaction with my friends and seniors who are pediatric dentists. Dental caries and its complications in children continue to be a serious health problem all over the world. The onus of treating most of them lies upon the general dentists who, therefore, need to be adept at child management in dentistry. The dentists, unfortunately, may not get enough knowledge and experience of pediatric dentistry during their training (graduation). Also, the use of sedation and general anesthesia for dental treatments is neither taught nor practiced much in many parts of the world for various reasons. As a result, the children, to a great extent, are deprived of comprehensive, quality dental care.
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