Children's dentistry beyond dentistry

Children's dentistry beyond dentistry


Dr Imneet Madan, Laser Specialist Paediatric Dentist at Dr Michaels’ Children’s Dental Centre; certified NLP coach, EFT, and TA practitioner, talks about pioneering the craft of NLP and hypnodentistry in behaviour management in children

Being at the helm of maintaining children in a congenial manner during dental treatment is the most exigent component of paediatric dentistry. Fear is an acronym for ‘False Evidence Appearing Real’. It is a perception of an individual mind and deserves to be addressed. Whatever the age group, children need attention and tender loving care. Therefore, behaviour management is considered an integral component of paediatric dentistry.

In a chat with GN Focus, Dr Imneet shares insights on how the journey and the experience of the child in the dental chair is far more consequential than just the accomplishment of the treatment.

What is the concept of Beyond Dentistry?

Beyond Dentistry is a customised approach that emphasises deeper understanding of children’s behaviour. Being in the practice for over two decades, I developed interest in biology of thoughts, neurophysiology of intention, energy flow and behaviour science. This inspired me to incorporate the knowledge and experience of Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) in routine dental practice, thereby, opening a novice doorway of insights on the ability of children to cope.

What is Neurolinguistic Programming? How is it applicable to dental treatment?

NLP is the practical application of various thinking patterns. Neuro refers to our conscious or subconscious mind, linguistic is the language we use based on our beliefs and culture, and past experiences and programming refers to the patterns out of which we respond.

The clinical usage of NLP incorporates proper use of words, listening to the concerns children portray and understanding any emotional history both from parents and the child. Once we have this knowledge, NLP allows us to reframe past experiences, establish new anchors that help to overcome any emotional blocks. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, the treatment planned for the day does not succeed, NLP reframing helps to then prepare the child for the next time.

What is tapping technique used to engage children to be receptive?

Energy in motion is referred to as “EMotion”. When there are blocks in our thought process, there is block of energy in our meridians. As a certified NLP coach I use the emotional freedom technique, wherein energy transactions can be altered by simple tapping on specific points. At times during dental treatment, children may exhibit sudden emotional abreactions. At this point, Emotional freedom technique (EFT) tapping plays a vital role to switch the energy levels back to acceptance and receptiveness of instructions.

How important is guided breathing?

Conscious sedation with laughing gas is also one of the common tools of behaviour management in children’s dentistry. When this form of sedation is combined with Buteyko breathing techniques, the efficacy of sedation goes multifold. Messages are heard when breath slows down, messages are understood when breath starts to become silent. Metaphors or stories around the messages to be delivered make it easy for the children to follow and understand. It’s commonly known that “facts tell but stories sell”.

Are there any more tools?

Transactional Analysis (TA) stresses on the use of strokes that uplift and enhance positive behaviour at all times. Strokes change the overall transaction of the experience and will eventually help in positive reinforcement of desired behaviour. The intent behind use of extended tools in children’s dentistry is to create a pleasant experience and truly instil positive dental attitude for a lifetime.

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