Avoiding Dental Neglect

By July 27, 2015 Knowledge Center

By Vishant Nath DMD

          It’s certainly an unpleasant feeling to find out that your child needs dental treatment.  As parents, we all hope for the dentist to declare our children to be cavity-free and compliment their oral health at each six-month check-up.  Unfortunately, this does not always happen.  The following article provides information about the importance of completing your child’s dental treatment in a timely manner.


If the dentist finds that your child needs dental treatment, make sure that you understand exactly what treatment is required and why.  Ask as many questions of your dentist as you need to in order to feel comfortable with the treatment plan going forward.  If you are still unsure, get a second opinion right away. 


If extensive dental treatment is required for your child, your dentist should be able to give you options for completing it.  Your child may benefit from completing the treatment all in one appointment, or breaking the treatment up into several appointments.  Other options may include the use of Nitrous Oxide (aka laughing gas), oral conscious sedation, IV sedation, or general anesthesia in a hospital.  Find out about all of these options and work with your dentist to make the best decision for your child. 


Even relatively minor dental treatment, which can usually be taken care of in a single appointment, should not be put off.  Dental diseases (such as cavities, periodontal disease and other dental conditions) require dental treatment to improve oral health.  These conditions will usually get worse over time if not treated. 


The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry defines dental neglect as “the willful failure of a parent or guardian to seek and follow through with treatment necessary to ensure a level of oral health essential for adequate function and freedom from pain and infection.” 


Obviously no parent wants to be responsible for neglecting their child’s health care needs.  But the bottom line is that we, as parents, are ultimately responsible for the health and safety of our children. 


There are many reasons why a parent might put off dental treatment for their child. . There may be financial issues that prevent a parent from following through on treatment.  A parent may not understand how important the treatment is to prevent further pain or infection.  Whatever the reason is, its important to discuss it with your dentist.  Most dentists’ will work through various issues with their patients to ensure that their oral health care needs are met.  Empower yourself as a parent by understanding exactly what your child needs so that you can enable your child to have excellent oral health!

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