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GUEST COLUMN – Outraged mum

Ann James

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I AM OUTRAGED by a recent incident at a dental office for children. It was my daughter’s first time at this particular dentist; so I did not know what to expect. First of all, I was given a set of documents to sign. One such does not allow the parent to be present with the child, which I questioned with much scepticism. I was assured it was okay as the dentist wants to establish some dialogue with the child without the parent. I however agreed to have an open mind as I had already informed the receptionist that I wanted an X-ray done on the two front teeth as she had suffered a fall two years ago.The appointment for my daughter who is four years old was at 10:40 a.m. but at 11:30 a.m. the receptionist came and got my daughter. At 12:30 p.m. I enquired of the receptionist how things were progressing, only to be told that the X-ray machine was not working and they were waiting to have it fixed. I enquired again at 1:30 p.m., to be told that the dentist was trying to talk to my daughter and that she would not respond, so she was placed in a chair until she was ready to talk. When asked on one of the forms to describe the temperament my daughter might exhibit, I had written that she would be shy, especially if it was her first time with you. At 1:45 p.m. I again enquired of my daughter and asked that she be sent to me if she had not yet been seen. When my daughter finally came she was despondent. She would not speak, and she is usually talkative. Continuing to probe, I asked her if the dentist had looked into her mouth. She said no.My daughter told me that the dentist ask her what her name was, and she responded. She then ask her: “What are you here for today?” – to which my daughter said: “Ummmm.” My daughter was then told “ummm” was not a word and that the dentist didn’t have time to waste, and was sent to sit in a baby chair. A little boy who arrived after us came in and the dentist then said to my daughter: “You see how well this little boy behaves.” I cannot believe that for two hours my daughter was placed in a chair to sit while I was in the waiting area unaware of what was going on. I think the policy the dentist has not allowing parents in with their children is a ridiculous one, because children my daughter’s age do not easily talk to strangers.I’m sure if I were present to reassure her she would have responded, because I have taken her to the dentist before and I was present and she spoke to the dentist. I left that dental office outraged because I wasted almost four hours. Whenever we pass by the dentist’s office my daughter says: “I don’t want to go back to that dentist!”  I would like for the General Dental Council to investigate this dentist’s business practices, because they are ridiculous.