Our Approach to Child Safety During Dental Care

At Kool Smiles, safety and quality care are our top priorities. The doctors and staff at Kool Smiles are mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters too, so family and safety is important to us both personally and professionally.

We understand that parents may have questions about protective stabilization, a technique used in a variety of medical settings for procedures involving children. Protective stabilization is a technique used by our dentists in rare cases to ensure the safety of the child, dentist and staff during treatment. This technique is performed in accordance with established guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and only after obtaining the parent’s permission.

The following information is intended to help parents understand our dentists’ approach to protective stabilization and when and why it may be recommended:

Protective stabilization is an established technique used by medical professionals to restrict a patient’s movement during treatment, especially during procedures involving needles or other sharp instruments, or while applying stitches, where sudden movements could harm the patient, doctor or staff. This technique may involve holding the child’s hands, stabilizing the head, or stabilizing leg movement to prevent injury while medical or dental care is being provided. In rare cases, this may involve placing the patient comfortably in an immobilization aide.

At Kool Smiles, protective stabilization is only used in rare cases when absolutely necessary to provide care in a safe manner, and only after trying other behavior management approaches first. Our doctors talk to parents before using protective stabilization to make sure parents fully understand the procedure and the need for it. Protective stabilization is only used after getting written permission from the child’s parent or legal guardian. Parents and legal guardians are invited to sit beside their child during this and any other procedure performed by the doctor or staff.

When determining whether to recommend protective stabilization, our doctors consider the patient’s oral health needs, emotional and cognitive development levels, medical and physical conditions, and the parent’s and child’s preferences and comfort levels.

Our team will provide information and offer professional advice, but ultimately parents make the treatment decisions.

In some cases, the parent and doctor may decide to postpone treatment to another day or refer the patient to another doctor. In other cases, the parent may ask for protective stabilization knowing their child’s past experiences during medical procedures. Some children feel more secure if supportive techniques are used to stabilize them in the dental chair.

Generally, protective stabilization is preferred for children over medical sedation, which can carry greater safety risks for the child.  However, our patients at Kool Smiles are provided the option of sedation when medically appropriate.

For additional information on protective stabilization and our clinical care guidelines at Kool Smiles, parents may find the following resources helpful:

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