The specialized services are customized to make the children feel more comfortable in a medical environment, said Dr. Oscar Padilla, associate professor of clinical dentistry at the NSU College of Dental Medicine's Department of Pediatric Dentistry.
The program involves showing the little patients an iPad video of the procedure, to familiarize them with what will happen. During the filling, cleaning, extraction or other treatment, the children take breaks and can play games on the iPad, then choose a toy from a treasure chest once the procedure is over.
"The children like routines, so we provide that," Padilla said. "So far, 100 percent of the patients surveyed responded positively. Parents have said they appreciate us treating their children as people."
Offered to the kids at the Mailman Segal Center's Baudhuin Preschool, which is located on NSU's main campus, and made possible by a five-year, $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, the program also trains post-doctoral dental students on how to provide specialized care for special-needs patients.
— Nicole Brochu