Ain’t Misbehavin’ - How DO You Deal With Disruptive Patients?
The state of the nation’s children’s dental health never seems far from the headlines. Although the NHS insists there has been a vast improvement over the past decade, the fact that nearly 26,000 five-to-nine year olds were admitted to hospital for tooth decay in England in 2013-14[i], means the time for action is now. But a focused, multi-agency approach, based on education and prevention, must consider how a child’s needs change as they grow older and move into adolescence.
Just like other life stages, hormones play a significant part, making a good oral health routine crucial. Research has shown that puberty’s rush of ‘sex hormones’ affects the periodontium.[ii] This is an unavoidable factor; as for an ‘avoidable’ one, a smoking habit usually starts, and gets established, during adolescence, and obviously has many serious consequences for dental and systemic health.
Like smoking, eating disorders are often initiated during the teenage years. Individuals who develop bulimia nervosa may experience acid erosion to the surface of the teeth as a result of vomiting. Anorexia nervosa can lead to increased caries, xerostomia and osteoporosis due to a lack of essential nutrients.
Energy drinks are popular during examination time as they are marketed as boosting energy, decreasing fatigue and enhancing concentration. However, they are often full of sugar, too. Skipping breakfast – or grabbing something unhealthy on-the-go – is also common. New research has shown that teens are twice as likely to suffer from halitosis if they miss breakfast[iii] and, with these years being a defining time socially, bad breath can be a great motivational tool to trigger better oral care!
With finances also likely to be an issue we need to look at simple, cost-effective ways to boost teens’ dental health between appointments. Education about the causes of halitosis, proper brushing techniques and the dangers of smoking of course are important, but they could add some adjunctive products, too, such as CB12 mouth rinse and Boost chewing gum which are clinically proven to neutralise the gases that cause halitosis and keep the the mouth fresh all day.
With such a drive to improve children’s dental health, we much not forget what comes after. Late adolescence is full of social, psychological and financial pressures and regular trips to the dentist are unlikely to be a priority, especially if an individual has just left home for the first time. The best solutions are always the simple ones, and no one wants to be known as the person with bad teeth or breath! Guidance and support is not just for kids, and will provide life-long benefits.
For more information on CB12 and the extensive research behind it, please visit www.cb12.co.uk
[ii] Apoorva, S. M., and A. Suchetha. "Effect of sex hormones on periodontium."Indian J. Dent. Sci 2 (2010): 36-40.
[iii] RANI H et al (2015) ‘Oral malodour among adolescents and its association with health behaviour and oral health status’, International Journal of Dental Hygiene, 2015
These worrying trends highlight the need for healthcare professionals to educate parents on the importance of regular check-ups. Creating a more child-friendly practice could also help to improve the number of children visiting and encourage them to return.
Starting with the entrance and reception area, practices should be inviting and put both adult and child at ease from the moment they walk in the door. Parents should feel comfortable enough to want to bring their babies to the practice, so that the dentist can check on the development of the milk teeth and ensure any problems or signs of decay can be identified and addressed early4.
A small number of changes can be made within the practice to enhance a child’s experience, for example:
It is essential to gain a patient’s confidence within the operatory room, and despite including some of the above changes, the dental chair can remain a particularly daunting place. Climbing into an intimidating chair and letting a masked, gloved stranger poke around in their mouth can be a big deal for some young patients. It is important that all patients feel safe and relaxed, and a dental unit that looks and feels comfortable will help achieve this.
A modern stylish dental unit, such as the innovative Skema 8, will reassure patients that they are going to be well looked after and help keep stress to a minimum. Developed by leading manufacturer Castellini, the Skema 8 is designed to optimise the workspace while improving patient comfort. Dentists can work easily without leaning over the patient, and by not intruding so much on a child’s space this may reduce worries and ensure a quick and efficient appointment.
Maximise comfort and provide a professional service to all your patients with the Skema 8 – contact the experienced team at Castellini to find out more.
If you want more information on how to receive Castellini Technical Accreditation, please call 08000 933975 and speak to Castellini UK Ltd directly for assistance.
 Dentistry. Worrying trend with oral care in children. Published online 27 July 2014, link http://www.dentistry.co.uk/news/worrying-trend-oral-care-children? [Accessed 2nd September 2014].
 Moynihan, P. J. (2002). Dietary advice in dental practice. British Dental Journal, 193, 563-568.
 British Dental Health Foundation. Charity responds to child tooth decay hospital admissions. Published online 14th July 2014, link http://www.dentalhealth.org/news/details/801 [Accessed 2nd September 2014].
Clinpro Sealant from 3M ESPE is the first fissure sealant to feature colour changing technology,[iii] designed to make your life easy when it comes to application. Using the direct delivery syringe for simple application, Clinpro sealant is pink until exposed to light when its turns opaque white.
Keep decay at bay with Clinpro sealant from 3M ESPE.
For more information, call 0845 602 5094 or visit www.3Mespe.co.uk
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[i] American Dental Association, 2005 (Fluoridation Facts)
[ii] Weintraub, J (2001). Pit and Fissure Sealants in High Caries Risk Individuals. Journal of Dental Education. 65(10). p.84-90
[iii] 3M ESPE Internal Data. First sealant with smart colour-change technology. Claim number 1297, 2001
[iv] 3M ESPE Internal Data. Caries Protection. Claim Number 4792, 2011
[v] Going RE, Loesche WJ Grainger Da, Sted SA (1979) The viability of micro organisms in carious lesions five years after covering with a fissure sealant. JADA (97) p.455-462.