Back to school can be such an exciting and invigorating time for many students. It means seeing friends on a regular basis, being back in a classroom, and getting back to learning. But for others, it could mean shame and guilt. The past year and a half have not been easy on anyone, but the pandemic has caused some kids (and adults!) to unlearn vital health behaviors.
Brushing teeth and maintaining dental health can seem less important when you know that you don’t have to leave your home.
ChesPenn pediatrician, Dr. Kai Turner, took notice of the increase in dental fillings in the mouths of her patients.
“It’s one of the most common medical problems for kids, and it gets neglected and I think it’s been even more so with the pandemic that I joke with the kids like you’re not gonna wear a mask all your life, your teeth are not going to be there when you take your mask off, because a lot of kids are just forgetting to brush their teeth,” said Dr. Turner, “So it plays a big part in not only healthcare but self-esteem. We don’t want kids to get, you know, gingivitis or have infections or abscesses that we can actually prevent.”
Dr. Turner is collaborating with the ChesPenn dental team to develop a program to combat poor dental hygiene in kids. This program allows the ChesPenn pediatric care team to schedule dental appointments with the patient right there in the room. It’s one less step for a patient to take in order to get their dental health back on track.
This program offers families an easier way to help their families maintain their wellbeing, in spite of the challenges they face. Whether they are dealing with transportation or time issues, or if they need to keep track of multiple appointments for each child they may have for well visits, checkups, sick visits, specialist visits, and dental visits.
“It’s hard for a lot of families to figure it out or even for adults, like it’s hard for us to keep up with our own stuff,” said Dr. Turner. Scheduling these appointments in the physician’s office should also help decrease any guilt or shame associated with seeing the dentist, because it’s easier than ever. That is the hope for this program: to make scheduling and maintaining appointments at ChesPenn easier for all patients. But for Dr. Turner, the benefits can be much more than just having an easier time scheduling appointment. The biggest thing Dr. Turner is looking forward to with this program? “Seeing less cavities,” she said.
Dr. Turner and the pediatrics staff at the Center for Family Health at Eastside have been working with this program since July 23, 2021.