Ever wondered what could be the toughest job in the world? From the laundry list, I pulled out pediatric odontology as it requires high precision, meticulous training, psychological counselling and pain resistance ability.
I realised this after taking my five-year-old boy to a paedodontist after he started showing signs of sensitivity in his teeth. The toddler was really excited when we embarked, and must have thought that he was being taken for an outing. Occasional visits to the hospitals were not new to him, but that was the first time he ever landed in a dental hospital.
The place looked totally new, and being unaware of what was to follow, he remained calm.
Soon, he jumped in happiness, when he found the adjoining play area. He was enjoying the slides and swings which he had missed dearly at kindergarten due to the lock-down.
His excitement, however, subsided with his turn. When asked to lie down, he gave a cold shoulder. The dentist, clueless, decided to use some force and asked us to hold him tight. The plan kind of worked, but his fidgeting was constantly making the job harder. That is where the paedodontist's skills come into play.
To tackle the psychological mind of the child, he scolded us in a loud voice and asked us to leave the room. The kiddo got confused and scared, so he became submissive.
When we returned, the teeth-filling job had been done.
When I asked the doctor if he gave any trouble, he showed his index finger with a bite mark, for which I apologised. The doctor said that it was a regular procedure, as he gets bitten five times on average on a working day.
I concluded that with all the psychological aspects he has to put on, where he has to be nimble and sensitive, wonder why it is not considered one of the toughest jobs? I became inquisitive and asked him for choosing this particular field of study. He frankly told me that he had to do it, as he had no choice where his scholarship conditions only allowed him to study it.
During the conversation, I asked him what could be done to domineering kids.He told me that the changes are minimal, however, in some emergency cases, they had to use conscious sedation techniques, which help to make restless and hyperactive children become calm and cooperative. They are able to respond to external stimuli and the dentist's command.
Luckily, we didn't have to go through this.
I learned during the conversation that brushing teeth twice a day and gargling right after any food intake could cut down the problem by 95 per cent in kids. This is not a tough job, though.
A version of this article appears in the print on March 17, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.