Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Tell-Show-Do, An Empowering Tool for Dental Health

Tell-Show-Do is a basic but important tool to help children feel comfortable in our office. We explain to the patient, step by step, what is about to happen as well as give them the opportunity to feel each tool first on an area of the body other than the oral cavity. For example, we will touch the patient’s fingernail with the explorer (“sharp instrument”) prior to touching the teeth, or we will allow the patient to hold the instruments themselves prior to use so that they can have a deeper understanding that our tools are safe and gentle. It is important for us to communicate in ways that the child will understand, so for our younger age groups we like to use more kid-friendly terms.  To make it fun and exciting, we may use the term Water Squirter, and replace the term “suction” with “Mr. Thirsty”, and “prophy brush” with “Tickle Toothbrush”.  As dental providers we firmly believe we need to earn the patient's trust by doing exactly what we have explained to the patient with no surprises.

As a Registered Dental Hygienist working in pediatrics, I find the Tell-Show-Do technique very valuable. One of the most common fears in young patients is a loss of control and by using this technique we are able to reduce patient anxiety for a more enjoyable visit.

In addition to Tell-Show-Do, we have a wide range of behavior guidance techniques to meet the needs of each individual child. Our distraction techniques are also very important to help relax an anxious child. Our reception area has a room especially made for your child to enjoy. The room contains I-Pads, books, puzzles, and a bead maze to help children unwind and take their minds off their appointment before they go to a treatment room. Once in the treatment room, we have Netflix ready for your child to pick their favorite show to watch during their exam. We provide headphones for them to listen, as well, which has the added benefit of blocking out background noise in the office.  Anything from the sound of our dental instruments to a vocal patient in a nearby room can be a distraction, so having headphones and a favorite show to focus on is a great tool to keep your child relaxed and content.

An extremely important factor in your child's success during an appointment is our consistent positive attitude.  This provides a happy environment regardless of the situation, day, or time. Above all, we have found that body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions play a very big role in reducing anxiety and encouraging patient cooperation. Consistent positive reinforcement is something we implement to help guide the child to have a good time during their appointment. At the end of every visit the patient earns a token they can use to pick a special prize from our prize tower.

From Beginning to end, we use our empowering tools and distraction techniques to provide a relaxing positive, and rewarding experience to ensure your child will enjoy their visit with us.

Amber - Registered Dental Hygienist