Advanced Pediatric Technology: Why Settle for Less?

When it comes to dental work for your kids, you may cringe at the thought of having them go through this invasive experience. Advances in technology, pediatric dental service and a family-centered care approach have made these experiences less traumatic for everyone involved.

I am happy to introduce a Dr. Randy Pagenkopf from Smiles By Randy, who is using a new type of technology to help their patients with dental procedures.

Dr.Randy

When dealing with your child’s dental visits, it can be a stressful time for both you and your little one, even more so for those children with special needs. But, it doesn’t have to be. Finding a pediatric dentist who specializes in advanced pediatric technology is the key to your child’s successful and exciting dental experience.

A pediatric dentist has taken their education to another level, one that specializes in the specific needs of children, so you don’t have to settle for anything less than amazing when it comes to their dental health!

No More Pain? No Problem!

What exactly is advanced pediatric technology? Those three little words hold a lot of weight when it comes to a tear and pain free dental procedure. As adults, we know all about those kinds of visits. Many people don’t fully realize the advances made in our dental field and just accept that their child may experience some form of mild pain when having a procedure done. With advanced pediatric technology, such as Waterlase, that’s no longer the case. No shots. Not drills. No fear. Simple as that.

Dental restorations using Waterlase technology means precision filling and doing away with scary drills and painful numbing shots. What kid wouldn’t be happy about that? I’m wondering if my adult dentist can measure up?

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Also, Waterlase technology lessens the need for anesthetics, which is a scary thought in itself. But the benefits don’t stop there. How many new moms have felt and endured the pain of their newborn baby having a frenum attachment abnormality? It is stressful to both you, and your baby. With Waterlase, your child’s frenectomy doesn’t involve tissue trauma, like older methods did. The procedure takes 3-5 minutes and their healing time has been cut in half. What’s even better? Your child is able to eat as normal right after the frenectomy is complete.

When You Know Better, You Do Better, Right?

We always want better for our kids then what we had, so taking your child, especially those with special needs, to the dentist should be an experience that develops happy memories and a sense of security.

A pediatric dentist can help eliminate your child’s fear and anxiety of scary drills and painful shots by developing a lasting relationship that specializes in their needs.

~ Dr. Randy Pagenkopf

To learn more about Waterlase and Dr. Randy Pagenkopf check out Smiles By Randy. Follow on Facebook and Google+

They are located at:

757A Long Point Rd

Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464

843.971.6221

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Guest Blog Post from Julie Brocklehurst at Tiptoeing Through

Friday Friends

When Brennen was very young, we moved into a brand new home in a newly constructed subdivision.  It was the ideal setting for a young family.  The intertwined cul-de-sacs were full of young children and stay-at-home Moms, and the air held the promise of a beautiful future.

There was a neighbourhood playground with swing sets and climbers.  There were tricycles and scooters parked on the lawns, and small dogs barked from the windows at passers-by.

Us neighbourhood Moms didn’t know each other, but we would exchange pleasantries in passing while pushing strollers or checking the community mailbox.

One day, a few of us got talking and came up with the idea of getting together with our little ones for a “play date” and a friendly chat.  It sounded like a great idea, so we decided on a day and time.  An eager Mom offered to host the gathering, and so off we went, pleased as could be with our newly made plans and the promise of friendship.

On the morning of the play date, I packed Brennen into his stroller and we headed down the road, just a few houses away, to join our neighbours.

Now, let’s back up just a little.  When Brennen was eight months old, he was given a diagnosis of cerebral palsy.  I had no idea what to expect, or what that would mean for him, or for our family.  Brennen was my first (and only) child, and I had nothing to compare him to.  I didn’t even know anybody with a disability, so this was completely unchartered territory for me.  I was still dealing with the facts and coming to terms with our situation myself, so maybe going on a “play date” with all of the neighbourhood kids wasn’t the best idea at that time, but alas, we went.

We arrived at our neighbour’s home and were welcomed inside.  I noticed right away that there were toddlers busy playing outside in the backyard.  There were some other little ones gathered around a huge pile of toys in the sunken living room, safely protected from the step by a large, secured baby gate.

There was a group of Moms sitting around the kitchen table, sipping tea while sharing photos and stories.  Another group were deep in what seemed to be a very serious conversation about ‘Mother and Baby’ Yoga.

Looking around, it wasn’t clear what Mom owned what child.

I took a seat at the table with Brennen in my arms.  After all, I wasn’t able to put him down.  At just over a year old, he couldn’t sit up on his own, and he certainly couldn’t play!  In fact, he wasn’t even able to hold his head up by himself, so I sat and held him.  And I sat and held him.  And no one spoke to me.  They looked, but they didn’t speak.  They didn’t ask questions, and I didn’t volunteer information.

At one point, the homeowner did offer me a cup of tea (which I would have loved!), but with Brennen in my arms it would have been impossible to drink it, and I certainly couldn’t get up to make it.

I knew at that moment that we did not belong there.  I knew it because I felt it. Deep down in my soul, I knew that we did not belong, and it was a horrible, horrible feeling.  It scared me.  I feared for Brennen’s future, and I feared for my own.  I wanted him to belong.  I wanted US to feel welcome and included and involved.  After all, isn’t that what we all want for our children, and for ourselves?

I found myself full of apprehension, fear and sadness for the extra challenges that I knew my child would face. (Several years later, that has not gone away.)

Shortly after our unsuccessful play date, Brennen began having regular physiotherapy appointments three times a week (in addition to occupational therapy and speech therapy).  At his physio sessions, Brennen and I would join his therapist on a mat in the corner of a large gym.  There would be other patients having their own therapy sessions in different areas of the gym, and over several weeks I began to take notice of these other children.  Though I tried not to stare, I would often catch myself sneaking glances, looking (hoping?) for similarities, and trying to overhear conversations.  I would look to see if the other little boy was able to roll over, or if the girl in the far corner looked like she could sit up on her own.  They seemed to be doing some of the same things we were, and working on some of the same goals.  I also found myself looking to the parent (most often the Mom), and wondering how she was coping.  She looked so put together.  How was she managing everything?  Had she accepted her child’s disability, or was she falling apart on the inside like I felt I was?

As the weeks went by, I began asking questions, and I guess the other parents had as well.  The physiotherapists took note of this, and began to bring us around, one at a time, to meet the other children.  There were five of them: Brennen, two boys and two girls, who were all around the same age and just happened to have therapy at the same time on Friday afternoons.  Our casual meeting grew into a planned physio “play group” that we later called “Friday Friends”.  They would pull all of the mats in the gym together and our five children would “play” for a full hour, while us Moms talked (cried, vented) over tea and coffee in the hospital cafeteria.

We talked about grief and loss.  We talked about surgeries and medical procedures, tests and diagnoses.  We talked about things that no one else would understand, and sometimes, we didn’t talk about our children at all!

I would look forward to Fridays. I felt that I was finally in a good place, that I wasn’t alone, and that there were others who could relate to what I was going through.  We shared the same fears and worries for our children.  We were uncertain of what our futures would look like, and were afraid to even think too far ahead.  That group of Moms became my strength and support, and though our schedules have changed, we are still close today.

I am in a much better place emotionally than I was just a few years ago, however there will always be worry. Having a child with physical and mental challenges means that there is going to be added suffering, and I carry that with me every day.

I want Brennen to have as many opportunities as he can to live a happy, fulfilling life.  I cannot change the physiological parts of his body that limit him, but I can nurture his mind and his spirit.  I can provide him with unique experiences and surround him with love.  That last part I’ve got mastered.  I love him so much that some days I fear my heart might explode.

If you are a special needs parent, let me tell you something:  You are not alone. We are in this together.  We are on the same team. We need each other, and our children need us.  Don’t think for a second that you are alone, or that you have to figure it all out by yourself.  I am in a constant state of ‘figuring it out’, but I am learning every day, and there is so much we can learn from each other.

-Julie B

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“Anyone can give up; it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength.”
— Christopher Reeves

To learn more about Julie and her son, follow her blog at

Tiptoeing Through

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5 Steps Every Parent Should Do Before Bringing Their Child to the Doctor

Taking your child to the doctor can be incredibly overwhelming.  Children can often become frightened and anxious with what will occur. They may not fully understand what will happen and why. The unfamiliar environment, medical team, or previous clinical experience may increase their fears and make it that much more difficult.

As a parent of two little ones, I use my skills as a child life specialist to help prepare them for what they will experience. It helps calm their nerves and mine.

Here are five easy steps that you can follow to get through the doctor visit, feeling confident and comfortable.

1. Get the Facts

Call your pediatrician ahead of time to find out exactly what will occur at the visit. Do they need a vaccination, blood test or urine sample? The more information you have than the better you are to explain.

2. Be Honest and Validate

Children need to feel that they can trust you. They will look to you for the answers and support. Let them know that they have a doctor appointment coming up. Help them remember by bringing up the last time they were at the office. Was it a routine checkup? Sick visit? How will this appointment be similar or different?

If they ask if they will get a shot, be honest. You can tell them, “Yes, you will be getting a shot. I know that you don’t like them but I will be there to help you get through it.” Remember to validate and normalize their feelings. They don’t want to hear, “It’s just a little pinch or big boys/girls don’t cry.” The reality is that it does hurt, adults don’t like them either, but as parents we know the importance of the vaccination.

3. Books and Medical Play 

Reading a book about going to the doctor is a great start in preparing them. “It’s Time For Your Checkup: What to expect when going to a doctor visit” is a book that I published to help explain all the steps, including a blood test and vaccination. It is a social story and can be used for children at all developments.

After you have read a book, than let your child explore with medical play. Use a play doctor kit filled with pretend and real materials, such as bandages, syringes, gauze, tape and rubber bands. Have them choose their favorite doll or stuffed animal and explore with the doctor kit. Give them some time to play on their own. What role are they playing? How are they using the materials? Are they asking questions or quiet and focused?

After they have become comfortable with the doctor kit, than go through each step that they will experience at their checkup. Use simple language in explaining what will happen and why. Think about explaining the steps using their five senses. They will be able to have a better understanding and process what will happen.

4. Coping Strategies

While you are playing or talking about what will occur, offer them choices and coping strategies. Do they want to sit on your lap in a therapeutic position or sit by themselves? Do they want to watch or look away? Do they want to ask and answer questions or have you be their voice? The more choices they have, than the more control they will feel.

It can be difficult for kids to relax their body when they are very upset. Practice deep breathing, with bubble blowing or pretending to blow out birthday candles. This is a great technique to use when they are receiving a vaccination or blood test. Envisioning that they are some place else, listening to music, playing an I-Spy game, holding a comfort item or singing are also different ideas. What do they want to choose?

5. Packing a Coping Kit

They now know what to expect and have made choices in ways to help distract and cope with the procedures. Give them some time to pack their own coping kit. They can pack the bag with comfort items, toys, snacks and even their own character bandages. This is a great way to keep them entertained while waiting for the doctor and to decrease anxiety during the procedures.

Remember to validate their feelings, use supportive language and let them choose a bravery item or treat for getting through the exam.

It’s Time For Your Checkup: What to expect when going to a doctor visit is a listed resource on both the Child Life Council and Autism Speaks website. It is made available in paperback and digital format through Amazon. Get your copy today!

It's Time For Your Checkup