Prof. Dr. Arlette Suzy Puspa Pertiwi, “Parents Have a Role in Determining the Success of Their Child’s Dental Care”

[unpad.ac.id, 30/4/2019] A healthy behavior concerning teeth and mouth must be instilled since the early age, one of the ways is by going to the dentist. But, oftentimes, a dentist visit doesn’t become a major priority because of the child’s fear.

Prof. Dr. Arlette Suzy Puspa Pertiwi, drg., Sp.KGA, M.Si. (Photo: Tedi Yusup)

“Parents play a role in instilling fear of dentists in children (dental fear). The parents’ behavior and belief heavily influence the child’s behavior, including dental fear,” said Prof. Dr. Arlette Suzy Puspa Pertiwi, drg., Sp.KGA, M.Si.

Prof. Arlette spoke as such when she was reading a scientific oration as she was inaugurated a professor position in Child Dentistry in the Universitas Padjadjaran Faculty of Dentistry. The scientific oration read by Prof. Arlette is titled “Towards a Caries-Free Indonesia through a Model of the Relationship between Parents’ Dental Belief and the Formation of Dental Fear in Pre-School Children”.

Explained by Prof. Arlette, the process of learning dental fear could be derived from the child’s experience that causes negative reaction and can also be learned from their environment. Socioeconomic, cultural, family relation, and child rearing factors, as well as dental fear experienced by parents can trigger dental fear in children.

“The ability of children in facing dental care doesn’t only depend on psychological and cognitive development level, but also on the presence of dental fear in parents,” she spoke.

Prof Arlette explained that dental care techniques in children and adults are different. Dental care procedures for adults only involves interaction between the dentist and the patient themselves, but for children it involves interaction between the dentist, the child, and the parent.

“In child dentistry, interaction between the dentist, the child, and the parent is called the Pediatric Treatment Tringle. It’s clear that the parents have a role in determining the success of dental care,” she explained.

Prof. Arlette said, the structural determination model of the direct connection between parents’ dental belief with the formation of dental fear in pre-school aged children in Bandung generates a significantly fit model.

“Some parental behaviors contribute in forming dental fear in pre-school children following the negative information spread, direct conditioning, and vicarious learning,” told Prof. Arlette.

Concerning the problem, Prof. Arlette explained, negative information spread can be in the form of parents’ expression about dentists that is associated with invasive care as well as through threat-sounding information. Meanwhile, direct conditioning can be from parental behavior that causes discomfort in children when the child is given dental care. Lastly, vicarious learning through parental behavior when they are given dental care that is observed by children through seeing or hearing.

“With the generation of model of the relationship between parents’ dental belief to the formation of dental fear in children, hopefully this model can be a basis for a socialization program to decrease children’s fear of dentists which will indirectly decrease the amount of caries in children,” she hoped.

Reported by Artanti Hendriyana
Translated by Dinda Ayu Maharani

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