I just read an article online about a dentist who was strapping down children during their dental appointments. Is this a common practice? It seems pretty barbaric to me, especially in this day and age. I don’t have children myself. I’m just curious.
I wish I new the article you were talking about. There are a couple of kinds of legitimate restraints that are used in pediatric dental care, but without seeing the article I can’t tell you if that was one of them. What I can tell you is what is commonly used and why.
The first type of restraint is pictured above. These are mouth props and are designed to prevent patients, including children from closing their mouth or biting down during a procedure. This is for their protection as much as the dentists.
I have a colleague who, while attending dental school was observing a classmate perform a filling on a child. He did not use a mouth restraint and, at some point, the child bit down which caused the drill to go into her jaw. He told me he never forgot that and has always used a mouth restraint ever since.
Another type of restraint is called a papoose board. These are not as commonly used. In fact, most dentists that I know only use them in the most serious of circumstances.
A good pediatric dentist knows how to put most children at ease. Every once in a while, however, you get a child whose fear causes them to get out of control. In some cases, using just a little nitrous oxide helps. But, if you have a child with a dental emergency and they are completely uncooperative a papoose board can save them.
Almost every dentist I know that has had to use one, said the moment the child was wrapped in the board, it helped them feel more secure and they calmed down enough to get the work done they desperately needed.
I hope this helps clear some things up. It’s great that you care about kids.
This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.