• Thursday, July 08th, 2010

Dental marketing with Dr. Michael SilvermanPediatric Oral Sedation Dentistry

Dr. Michael Silverman of DOCS Education answers this question: “You didn’t use to teach pediatric oral sedation. What made you change your mind?”

Dr. Michael Silverman begins by explaining his role as President of DOCS Education. “DOCS Education is a ten-year-old company that has been providing sedation dental continuing education to dentists in the United States and Canada in the field of oral sedation dentistry and, now, IV sedation and pediatric sedation, so that dentists can expand their practice and so that they can reach out to the millions and millions of people who are not being served by dentistry today.”

Julie Frey asks a question. “You didn’t use to teach pediatric oral sedation. What made you change your mind?”

“That’s true!” Dr. Silverman replies. “For those of you who have heard me speak in the past, you know that in my personal experience as practicing dentist, I rarely saw children, and if they had any kind of squirming on the chair, I would pretty much just refer them to the pediatric dentist. And what happened was… it was kind of very interesting.

“My concern for patients in access care sort of went back a while ago, and I never really saw children as being under-served. When you look at the statistics in the United States population today, approximately 74 million children make up our demographics – about the same size as the baby boomers – and with today’s healthcare economics in America, this was a pretty big important thing to understand. And that segment of the population, of children that are in United States right now, it’s going to grow to about 82 million in the year 2021.

“So, after decades of advancements in preventative dental technology though, the statistics now show that dental disease has not been conquered, and the caries rate in children – especially preschool children from lower and middle socioeconomic class populations, blue collar or working class – this has just exploded.

“The Center for Disease Control has talked about this and showed that more than 4 million preschoolers are affected by dental caries, which is a leap up and over the 600,000 a decade ago. So for children between two and five, the caries rate was somewhere around 24% back in ‘88 to ’94, and it’s jumped up to 28% from ‘99 to 2004. So it’s seeming to get worse. The population is growing and it’s getting worse and it’s not being dealt with.

“In the United States, dental caries represents the single most unmet healthcare need in children. Now, check this out: that’s greater than asthma, obesity, heart conditions and other common childhood diseases. And more than 51 million school hours are lost each year due to dental related conditions. A trip to the emergency room for dental related caries in children is the first visit that the children go to the dentist 25% of the time right now.

“So what I’m trying to express with those statistics is that we as a dental profession are ignoring a huge segment of the population that needs our care. About a year ago, I met a wonderful pediatric dentist from California, Roger Sanger, who showed me what he was doing in his offices. And what he showed me was that you can treat children with dental sedation safely if you use very, very low doses of medication, and you have a very simple easy restraint system so that the children won’t hurt themselves. He personally has treated over 36,000 pediatric cases this way without a single event, not a single injury. And when I saw this, my mind just—my mind was blown. I said, I’ve got to get this word out there. I need to figure out how we can help all of these kids and help the dentists get in touch with this growing incredible population.”

Julie Frey asks another question. “How does pediatric oral sedation fit into the dentist’s business model?”

“You know, that’s interesting,” Dr. Silverman responds. “One of the reasons I didn’t like treating children other than they were difficult to deal with from a dental management standpoint was it didn’t feel as if I could be very productive. I could spend an hour with a child and take care of a couple of teeth, but they were fillings and it wasn’t a highly productive area.

“What we’ve seen is, with the use of sedation in children, is that when these children come in, sometimes they have a mouthful of caries. They need to be taken care of, and by using the appropriate standard of care techniques such as stainless steel dental crowns and pulpotomies, you can take care of an awful lot of teeth in a short period of time when a child is safe. And the result from a clinical standpoint is just excellent.

Dr. Michael Silverman, DMD, is President of RAMP (The Dentist's Advertising Agency), which can be reached at 1-800-620-RAMP. Dr. Silverman is also President of DOCS Education.

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