The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

April 2, 2011

Fun and games at the dentist office

PlayStation, toothy stuffed animals helping make children comfortable

By Joe Malan, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID — Enid Pediatric Dental Clinic takes a unique approach to dentistry, especially for young children who might not know what a dentist is or are scared during their first visit.

Dr. Tim Fagan, a pediatric dental specialist at the clinic, 423 N. Van Buren, says one of the first things he does to make sure a young patient is comfortable is send a packet with a friendly comic strip that explains what happens at the dentist’s office.

Once the patient comes in, he or she is greeted by an office tailored to a child’s interests.

There is a PlayStation 3 console with games, handheld Nintendo games and an aquarium with fish, just to name a few things.

“The whole atmosphere is geared toward kids and teenagers to help them feel more relaxed and have things to do,” Fagan said.

The clinic strives to continue to make the experience comfortable for children once they get into the dentist’s chair.

Fagan or the dental assistant will take a stuffed animal with teeth and demonstrate how teeth are cleaned.

There are flip down mirrors on the overhead lights, so children can watch the dental personnel while they work.

If using a drill, Fagan gives the child headphones and a music player.

For the very young, Fagan will offer to have the parent hold the child’s head in his or her lap or the dental assistant’s lap during brushing.

Of course, positive reinforcement is key to any dentist visit.

If a child does a good job, Fagan said, the child will be rewarded.

“We try to reward the kids who do well, we constantly praise them and tell them they’re doing a good job,” Fagan said. “We hook them up with prizes if they’ve done a good job.”