Thursday, May 19, 2016

Dental Restraints For Kids.. A Controversial Topic

I don't know anyone that likes to go to the dentist, myself included. It can especially traumatizing for a child especially if major work is needed. A freaked out child who cannot sit still can be a nightmare for a dentist, dental assistant, hygienist and not to mention the parent. A child who cannot remain still or calm can be a safety hazard to anyone in the office around them as well as themselves. Think about it, a dentist is trying to drill out a cavity and the child is tossing their head around.

Which bring me to what has become a very controversial topic in the media right now. Should dental restraints be used on children? There can be an argument both ways. I know dentists that are not at all a fan of them, I know dentists that are and I know ones that have them as an absolute last resort. The controversy comes from a story in Boston that went viral on social media. Some parents we claiming that their child was "tortured and traumatized" during their trip to the dentist because they were restrained in the chair. There were reports of some kids getting cuts and bruised from the restraints. Being one that does not like to be restrained in away, I can empathize with these kids. I would literally go nuts. There are two sides to every story and of course we are only seeing one side in the media and on social media. So I will refrain from giving my opinion of the story because I do not like to jump to conclusions based on one side. However I will say this:

1. Restraints are nothing new, they have been around and have been used for years. In this day of social media takeover, things like this are brought more into the spotlight. Although it may seem like something new that this dentist is doing, it really isn't. It has been a practice for a very long time.

2. There is time to use restraints and a time not to. In my opinion that should be a collaborative decision between the parent(s) and the dentist. Other options should be explored so that the best course of action can be agreed upon.

3. There is correct and incorrect way to use restraints. They are designed to keep the patient still and safe, not cause harm to them. If a patient is getting cuts and bruises from the restraints then in my opinion they are counterproductive to the purpose they are intended for, or they are misapplied.

I would really like to hear from you on this. What are your thoughts? You can comment on this post if you like. I did a Twitter Poll on our @SavonDentalPlan twitter account if you would like to go there and vote. Hope to hear your feedback!

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