Linguistic maturity as a determinant of child patient behavior in the dental office.ASDC J Dent Child. 1997 Sep-Oct; 64(5):322-6.AJ
Progressively during the 20th century dentistry for children has become more efficient, less painful, and more prevention oriented. In the last quarter of the 20th century there was a dramatic decrease in dental decay for many American children. These two facts paired with the fact that stories about dentistry being painful are gone in many American communities and have been replaced with stories about how pleasant the dental appointment can be would seem to predict that child patient management and the interception of inappropriate behavior would not be a critical skill for the dental clinician that treats children today. This finding however is not the case. It is submitted that misbehavior now stems from the fact that today's parents are not encouraged to raise their children as urgently as in the earlier part of the century. It is offered that the child's incompetence in working with other people in the constituent speech acts of requests and promises causes the child confusion, frustration, and perhaps anxiety. The child's dental experience is a complex conversation between the dentists as requester and the child patient as the promisor of effective actions to the dentists' reasonable requests.