In early June, my staff and I attended a continuing education course on treating children who have extreme fears of dentistry. It was titled “Little People, Big Problems.” Because I see a lot of children in my practice, I thought this course would be excellent for learning new tips. Sitting in that course brought back some memories from the past. As part of the staff at the USC dental mobile clinic in 1999, I did charity work for under-privileged children all over California. I remember we would have to sterilize and set up treatment rooms in make-shift clinics – most of which were cafeterias or auditoriums and elementary schools. We would then have to treat over 500 kids in one day. At the end of those busy days, I always felt exhausted both mentally and physically, but just seeing those happy innocent smiles on so many children made it all worth it.
At the end of the course, my staff had commented that they felt as if they learned “nothing.” I explained to them that because of my extensive experience with sedation and working with children, I had trained them on many techniques for working with kids. Apparently, the course was geared towards those dentists who were having “Big Problems” with children – which did not apply to my staff and I. Even though we may not have learned anything new, I still feel that it is important for my staff and I to attend these types of courses. Without sitting through these lectures, there is no real way of knowing if new information would have helped our practice. As dental professionals, in order to provide the best level of patient care, I feel we must continuously make every attempt to learn and improve ourselves in all aspects of dentistry.