Please welcome Dr.
Adrian Codel, a CDS member and general dentist who practices on
Chicago's north side. Today Dr. Codel shares an early experience he
had with parents who ignored all dental advice and thus harmed
their children's oral health.
My first associateship was at a pediatric practice where I was
afforded the opportunity to treat the children as well as the
parents. It was a great experience. I learned that the biggest
challenge pediatric dentists face isn't always the children's
behavior, but the parents' behavior--like helicopter
parents who won't leave the room no matter how many times you
ask. In the dental setting this is the parent that stays by the
child's side and convinces them that the visit is going to be a
negative experience. However, the only thing negative about the
experience is what they are telling their kids.
What will always stick in my mind, though, is the family where mom
was a lawyer and dad was a physician. Obviously, they were
well-educated with wonderful children. However, they refused to
follow the hygiene recommendations made by the AAPD and ignored any
dentist who advised no juice in the bottle. Instead, these parents
would simply instruct us, "Let us know when it is time to go to the
I saw two of their children end up in the OR for restorative care
by age 6. I always felt this was borderline neglect except for the
fact that they were committed to treating the kids at a fixed point
I am sure anyone who treats children can relate to the parent that
does more harm than good when it comes to their child's oral health
and dental experience. However, I still ponder the best way to
address these situations.
food for thought
I certainly feel your pain! It is great to work with children and I really enjoy it but the parents can make it unpleasant. The one thing I have learned over the 10 years I have been in practice as a pediatric dentist is I cannot make everyone happy. So, sometimes if I feel the parent and I are not on the same page instead of trying to convince them to do something I recommend they go for a 2nd opinion. Many times they end up returning to our office and are much more agreeable, but if they don't return then it just wasn't meant to be :)
Posted by: Anonymous (firstname.lastname@example.org) on 05/16/2011