Engaging children's cooperation in the dental environment through effective communication.Pediatr Dent. 2006 Sep-Oct; 28(5):455-9.PD
Establishing a trusting relationship with the child patient is a critical requisite for the pediatric dentist in gaining the child's cooperation in the provision of oral health care. Developing such a relationship is predicated on the establishment of effective communication. Many publications in the psychological literature, specifically the parenting literature, describe communication skills that are relevant to the pediatric dentist in effectively communicating with children in the dental environment. Yet, several of these approaches to communication are not generally discussed or advocated in the dental literature. Among these skills are: (1) reflective listening; (2) self-disclosing assertiveness; and (3) the use of descriptive praise. This article: (1) reviews these 3 skills; (2) describes their theoretical foundations; (3) provides examples of when they are useful in the dentist-child clinical encounter; and (4) indicates why they are important aspects of the pediatric dentist's communication repertoire in establishing a positive, empathetic, and mutually cooperative relationship with the child patient.