R Anand, F Samadi
behavioral changes, motivational methods
R Anand, F Samadi. Motivational Aspects of Dental Treatment for the Children : A Review. The Internet Journal of Dental Science. 2008 Volume 7 Number 2.
The purpose of this paper is to describe some of the motivational methods and materials that can be used to encourage the behavioural changes to bring in our effort to have child patients achieve higher level of dental health. Our primary interest is in improving health.
Our objective is to have children and their parents develop a sense of responsibility for their own health so that they can maintain their teeth in a comfortable, attractive and functional state for a life time with a minimum of repairs an expense. It takes time, a positive attitude and great patience to help patients change their attitudes to accept this responsibility.
Step # 1: The first phone call
When a parent calls for an appointment, we want to find out why they called and what their needs are rather than explaining what we have to offer 5 . Asking the child’s name and his age and past dental experiences right away allows the receptionist to use the child’s name in a conversation.
Step # 2: Dental office and design
When the parent and child come in to the office and feel comfortable because of pleasant surroundings including a play area just for children, they will be more receptive to ideas on prevention or dental treatment .Bright colors are pleasing and posters with subtle motivational messages are a way of planting positive mental seeds.
Step # 3: New patient pamphlets- counselling with parent
The parent is asked to read the pamphlet carefully and is told that we’d like to know what she thinks about these ideas 1 . After the pamphlets has been read ,the receptionist can take the parent in to the private office and discuss family past dental history and present needs as they might relate to the preventive approach while child is examined
Step # 4: oral health index (modified Green OHIS index )
The level of dental health of a new patient is a complex combination. The oral health index quickly gives a simple measure that can by a parent of the amount of plaque and associated gingival disease 2 .
Step #5 : Smile club
Patients who achieve an 80% or better score on the oral health index for two consecutive recall visits become member of smile club and their name is put on smile board. A certificate , membership card and smile badge are awarded . Patient need only to maintain this level of oral health to retain active membership. This approach seems to be most appealing to 6 -11 year old children and can serve to keep them interested in plaque control during a time when cooperation sometimes is difficult to obtain 3 .
Step # 6 : food intake diary
The use of food intake diary has been describing approach to help families understand nutritional problems. The amounts of sugar in the various food items are recorded. Emphasis is placed on a breakfast high in protein and low in sugar and on substitution of between meal snacks with thing like fruits, cheese, nuts, meat and other sugar free snacks and beverages.
Step # 7: Pamphlets
To provide a parent with a learning tool to take with her to help- answer question from friends and family about preventive dentistry in improving state of health resulting from efficient plaque control and food intake changes , topical fluoride therapy and receive periodic examinations to intercept problem in early stages 8 .
Step # 8 : patient mailings
The value of hand written postcard message has been beneficial many times through referral of new patients from parents. The card that welcomes the new patient to the office may be the first mail ever received by a three a old and can create keen anticipation for the initial visit 10 . Card thanking apprehensive children for their improved cooperation tends to reduce management problems at later appointments.
When the dentist try to help a parent identify a child’s present and future dental problems many skills becomes necessary, acquiring the skills to help people learn is challenging. Attention the behavioural sciences is just beginning to paid and hopefully dentist of the future can be trained to deal with children and their problem as they are trained to treat dental diseases .
The authors wish to thank the staff and patient whose unfailing help and support made the study possible.