Posted in i am a dentist, in my opinion

Patient Chronicles: Please Do Not Use “Injections” to Discipline Your Children

One day at Healthway, I was queued outside of the employee washroom and a little boy was being playful along the corridor. He wasn’t really being bad. He was just fine, actually (unremarkable because I remember smiling at him when I saw) but then I heard his mom call to him.
Mom: Halika dito ang likot mo! (Come here, you’re so naughty!)
Boy goes to his mother. I just stand there and smile at them. I was bored. Person in the washroom, before me, was taking so long (I wonder why?) Suddenly boy stands up and decides to play around the corridor again.
Mom: Stop playing around! Cge ayan na si Doc, bigyan ka ng injection! (You have to behave or the doctor will give you an injection)
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The mom smiles at me and then winks. The person before me, has just exited the washroom and it was my perfect cue to leave. But just before I do so, I look at the mom and say: “Oh, please don’t use the injection to scare him.” 

I’m Urging You, Please Don’t

This is not the first time I’ve heard parents using injections as a scare tactic to get their child’s attention. In my own practice, I’ve heard parents threaten their child: “Doc will give you an injection!” 
Why do you do that? I am not a parent, yet, so I have to ask you why you think it’s a good way to get their attention, make them behave and frighten them. Is it a good cop, bad cop strategy? Is that it? You would rather make someone the bad guy, so you can continue to be the cool parent that is actually okay with him playing along the corridor, so let’s give the disciplining role to the scary dentist/doctor who gives painful injections? Is there really no other way around this? I mean, children are scared of needles as it is, making it an enemy like that, just completely takes it to a whole different level of scary.
Do you know how hard it is to seat a frightened kid? Sometimes it’s a simple: “Open your mouth and let’s count your teeth” appointment, but the whole process will take over an hour. Some children are already afraid of strange people and doctors, highlighting our most menacing tool is not going to help.
Just look at it this way: You want your children to be good patients, right? You want them to have good experiences in the dentist/doctor’s office? You want to avoid expensive sedation fees? Then let’s help each other. Stop making us the bad guy because you know they will meet us one day and we have to get along. Stop making us the enemy because your child needs to trust us and we have to be friends. You want your child to have a good relationship with his doctors because it will start a good habit that he/she will take with him throughout his life.
But Wait, I Love Pediatric Patients
Rest assured, we are ready to make them smile, wipe their tears and take away their fears. I love children and I have seen many patients grow old in my practice (that is almost 10 years old now). We are taught to be patient with patients–and we will always be there to treat them through their fears. All I’m asking here is some help. Maybe you can stop using the injection as a scare tactic. I know it is a frightening thing–I don’t like it either. I know they cry their hearts out when they get vaccinated (the Dental Department is just a few steps from the Pediatric Department and we hear a chorus of children every once in a while).
Needles and syringes are “evil” things–that bring about good for patients. Without it we cannot cater to your needs.

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Author:

I am a dentist and in between patients I am a writer. I have been a blogger since 2004 and writing is something that is most natural to me, like breathing air... words are my sustenance and this blog, is my breathing space.

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