Pediatric Dentist – How To Find Yours

Around the time your child hits age two, you will want to look into finding an oral physician to inspect and maintain their teeth. Taking the time to find a qualified and experienced pediatric dentist provides your child with the tools and resources necessary to enjoy a lifetime of quality oral health. In this article, we will offer a few tips to help you weed through the candidates and find the physician best suited for your child.

Step 1 – Get in touch with your insurance provider and ask for recommendations pertaining to physicians covered under your health care plan. Obtaining this information will help greatly in narrowing the field and finding a pediatric dentist who will fit into your budget.

Step 2 – Using the list provided in step 1, speak with friends, family members and even local schools to find out whether you can gain any specific information on the candidates. Word of mouth is often sure-fire way to find quality services, and this instance is far from exception. Ask questions specific to your concerns and needs and be sure to take notes on your findings.

Step 3 – Hop online and check out the candidates you are considering. There are quite a few sites dedicated to helping consumers acquire local quality care, which offer user-submitted reviews and ratings to help in the decision process. Keep an open mind, researching your current candidates while keeping an eye out for others that have garnered positive attention, and whom you may not have heard of.

Step 4 – Call up your pediatrician’s office in hopes of adding to your list and checking out any potential candidates that have interested you thus far. Most medical practitioners will have a fairly good idea of other health care professionals outside of their specific are of expertise and be able to point you in the right direction. Ask them who they would use for their own children.

Step 5 – At this point, you should have a pretty solid list in front of you. Sit down and evaluate the pros and cons of each, deciding on your top three choices. Call each dentist up and ask to come in for a visit. Some offices will require you to schedule a specific time, while others will simply ask to you drop by at your convenience.

Step 6 – During your visit, take in the environment. Make certain the office is child-friendly and all the equipment child-sized. Try to evaluate whether the physician works well with children. A prize box, cartoon d├ęcor and children’s books are all good signs.

Step 7 – Speak with the dentist and ask what your child should expect during a general checkup. A good pediatric specialist should know how to interact with children and be able to make them feel comfortable.

Step 8 – Once you’ve met with each of your candidates, you should have a good idea of what your final decision will be. Schedule an appointment to see how things go and pay attention throughout the visit to ensure your child is receiving the best care available. Remember, you can always change your mind if you find something better.

Childhood Asthma Allergy and Eczema

I have seen many kids over the course of my career who have this combination of asthma, allergies, and eczema occurring at the same time or at different time periods in the child’s life. Any one of these conditions is enough to cause frustration and concern for parents, but the additive effect of all three can be overwhelming and a challenge to the child’s system and energy threshold.

Asking the Question Why?

One of the strategies I like to use in the evaluation of kids, is to stretch out the framework of investigation to include not just what is happening now, but what has come before. Essentially, I think it is important to ask the question “why?”. Why this child, at this time, in this family, in this environment? Because this is such a difficult question to answer, it is almost never raised in the context of a practitioner’s office evaluation. The emphasis tends to be on treatment and management with medications, which is appropriate but in my opinion, incomplete. I am quite certain that every parent wants to know the answer to this “why” question for their own child, but it never reaches the point where it is possible to answer it because it is so nebulous and unclear, not to mention the fact that the possible contributing variables are too numerous to count.

I have learned to tackle this from an energy medicine perspective, which means we focus on the energetics of your child’s system which includes factors both inside and outside of their physical body, as well as time frames going all the way back to birth, prenatal and family history influences. When this is done, the reasons for the common scenario where asthma, allergies and eczema are coexisting in the same child have the chance to come to light. This awareness on your part as a parent is key to helping your child as I have mentioned previously in another post.

Your Child’s Lung Energy

In the Chinese medicine system, the lung energy, as a subdivision of your child’s overall energy allotment, is in charge of the process of breathing, the immune system especially on the surface of the body and on mucous membranes like the nose, mouth, respiratory and digestive tract, and finally the health of the skin (the largest organ of the body). By noting that this one sub-system is energetically in charge of all three of these categories (among many others), it is readily apparent that this triad of involvement in a child is likely to be caused by a weakness or imbalance on this one sub-circuit.

It is not that simple, however, because your child’s life experiences, events, environmental influences, inherited predispositions, and emotional contributing factors all can have a large or small impact on how your child’s system responds and seeks to balance itself. Therefore, the reasons and the answer to the question of why my child, why now, and so forth will always be individual to the child, there can never be a set answer that will cover every child with this triad of conditions.

It took me a long time to recognize this because this is not the way our current scientific investigation model works. Studies are done to look for the one explanation that tries to explain all, like a causative organism, an allergen, a toxin or a food or environmental sensitivity. I am not saying this is wrong, all I am saying is that it represents too narrow a view. When every child with asthma, allergies and eczema has a different set of reasons for having those three conditions together, it is a problem trying to reduce the answer to the why question to a one size fits all response. I think we all know this intuitively, and certainly parents know that their own child has unique characteristics that differentiate them from everyone else in the world. To me, this is the main reason to use a more holistic approach to childhood issues and in my opinion, an energy based evaluation must be a part of the overall strategy.

Reality Based Approach

My final point to make is that your child does have a reason as to why they have or have had this triad of asthma, allergies and eczema but the answer will not be found in some textbook, or by a specialist, or on the next drug commercial. It will be found by the investigation of your child’s own history, predisposing factors, timing of events and experiences, and the awareness of their own energy based system functioning in real time.

My proposal to parents is to take a reality based approach which takes into account the necessity of medications if that is required, but not to the exclusion of all other investigations. Your child’s system is way too complex for us to logically reduce things to one answer only. Be open to all possibilities and systems of reasoning. Your child already does this naturally. I think we should do the same.

Primary Care Physicians Take Note Of Reform Possibilities

Physicians everywhere generally seem most concerned with the managed care aspects of healthcare reform. There is a fear that, with the movement into a marketplace where there are more insureds (either through employer mandates or Medicaid eligibility expansion) and the growth of risk based compensation, panic is close at hand. Physicians, especially primary care physicians, need to be more circumspect and look for a silver lining.

First of all, the sky is not falling. It is changing, as it always does, but it is not falling. It is axiomatic to think that change in health care is inevitable. Of course it is. It is foolish, however, to think one knows precisely what it will consist of. That said, it is fairly predictable that, if the healthcare reform laws are even just a sign of what’s ahead, the future may have the following characteristics in the insured (governmental or commercial) market:

1. A movement over time away from fee for service payment;
2. Growing integration of information technology (e.g. EMR) into healthcare;
3. Increased outcome-based measurement and connection to reimbursement; and
4. Healthcare businesses and physician practices combining in various ways.

Some experts have said “we’ve been here before.” Remember the capitation, IPA and PHO explosion of the 90s? True enough, but there was never any discussion about tying reimbursement to quality measures of any kind back then. The things they are unified about, however, are the need to develop compensation methodologies which accomplish three things:

1. Get more patients insured;
2. Slow the rate of increase in healthcare expenditures; and
3. Measure quality.

Though the fears about the methods proposed for accomplishing those three objectives are understandable, and while physicians do have to explore how they are doing business (in the insured marketplace) and do need to consider alternatives (e.g. IPAs, practice mergers), there is little conversation about the more proprietary opportunities presented to physicians in the face of reform.

Healthcare reform will likely create tremendous opportunities in the “proprietary marketplace,” where business opportunities abound. Some experts even say that the reform changes will amplify a growing two-tiered system that already exists in our culture. What that looks like is impossible to predict, but there are at least two signs and signals that exist today.

Patient centered medical homes (PCMH). The term was first coined by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 1967. Since then, the concept has morphed with the input of the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Physicians. Simply put, the PCMH or simply Medical Home is not home health care. It is an expanded concept of how to deliver primary care and ensure patient participation in their care and outcomes. The concept includes some basic elements:

1. It is located in a lower cost environment closer to patient populations to ensure access;
2. It has expanded hours to accommodate patient schedules;
3. It is primary care led, using both physicians and others;
4. It expands on the concept of care delivery to include relevant and necessary services such as serving as a nexus between patient needs and the community;
5. It uses enhanced communication techniques, like texting patients about appointments and online scheduling;
6. It takes into consideration patient lifestyle to ensure enhanced patient participation;
7. Evidence based medicine and outcome demonstration is at the core.

Regardless of how the model is interpreted or implemented, one thing is clear: there is a business opportunity here!

Concierge practices. Many experts agree that the already existing two tiered medical system in our culture will expand as the insured market grows. More and more patients, they say, will want greater access and “non-covered services” (especially as the definition changes of what is covered what is not). Again, opportunity!

Physicians have a tall order now: Consider new ways to adapt and prosper in an expanding insurance market. They also need to keep in mind the opportunities the market changes present.

What is Pediatric Congestive Heart Failure?

Within the United States, congenital heart defects are the main cause of pediatric congestive heart failure. Other causes include; infections, exposure to toxins and damage caused by drugs. The American Heart Association (2008) defines congestive heart failure (CHF) as a medical condition in which the heart can not pump enough blood to the rest of the body. Blood flowing out of the heart slows; causing the blood returning to the heart to back up into other tissues of the body. The severity of symptoms can vary, depending on the degree of the heart defect.

This condition results in fluid build up in the child’s tissues, including the lungs. Breathing becomes more difficult and the child experiences shortness of breath and may start using more of their chest muscles to breathe. This added exertion uses up vital energy that should otherwise go toward helping the child grow and develop; the very act of breathing and crying can leave them feeling exhausted. As a result, these children can fail to grow and thrive; compared to children their age, they may be slower in meeting their developmental milestones.

Symptoms of pediatric congestive heart failure may not be evident until a few weeks after birth. The child may have a pale or gray complexion. Due to their breathing difficulties, they can take almost an hour to finish a feed that should ordinarily take only about 15 minutes. The added exertion associated with each activity can cause them to perspire excessively, even at normal temperatures. A lack of energy, a fast heart rate and fast breathing are common signs of pediatric congestive heart failure.

Older children and adolescents may have more specific symptoms, such as feeling shortness of breath whenever they are active or exercising. Depending on the severity of their heart condition, they can experience difficulty breathing even at minimal exertion, such as climbing stairs or taking a walk. Some children develop abdominal pain; clinicians may find an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the child’s abdomen and swelling in their extremities.

Their appetites may be diminished, which can lead to weight loss. On the other hand, they can also gain weight, due to the amount of fluid that is being retained. It is important to note that older children can be at risk of fainting during strenuous activities; this can subsequently lead to a serious injury.

Treating children with pediatric congestive heart failure has become safer in recent years, due to high-definition imaging technology, advanced patient monitoring systems and high tech robotic operating tools. Operative procedures have also become safer and less invasive.

In some cases both the heart surgeon and the heart catheterization specialist will treat the child, at the same time. These combined elements have contributed to improved survival rates and improved health outcomes for children. Early and focused surgical treatments have saved many children from an otherwise debilitating or fatal defect. Referral to a pediatric cardiologist is appropriate whenever a diagnosis of pediatric congestive heart failure is suspected.