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Basic Techniques for Management of the Infant and Toddler Dental Patient

Course Number: 54

Treatment Goals

Our treatment goal for the pediatric patient is: Optimal treatment for the pediatric patient can be completed in the shortest possible period, while insuring he or she will return for treatment willingly.

Let’s analyze this statement with emphasis on the bold words.

Optimal treatment – As practitioners, we want to render optimal treatment to patients, primarily because as health practitioners we have a responsibility not to harm a patient. Thus, we want to create an environment for the pediatric patient that results in cooperative behavior where we can provide excellent care.

Shortest possible period – Optimal dental treatment for children should be rendered in time intervals vastly different from adult patients. Many young children do not have the attention span or coping skills that afford them the opportunity to sit for lengthy dental appointments. The techniques we use to treat the patient should allow us to complete the treatment in a reasonable amount of time while providing clinically acceptable treatment.

He or she will return for treatment willingly – In spite of the need to provide efficient treatment, it is still necessary for us to accomplish it in a manner that will encourage the child to return for subsequent treatment willingly and fearlessly. The most ineffective way to examine an 18-month old patient would be to seat them in the dental chair without an introduction while adults restrain the child. Nonetheless, it is doubtful that child would return willingly for subsequent treatment after enduring treatment rendered under those circumstances.

The infant and toddler’s first visit to the dentist should provide for a foundation of pleasant experiences and attitudes for future oral healthcare. By learning some basic introductory techniques to dentistry, dentists and auxiliaries can provide a non-threatening and comfortable environment for the very youngest of patients.