Today we sit down (via email) with Elizabeth Mahadeo RDH for a chat about children’s dental health.
Elizabeth is an author and registered dental hygienist, having already published a couple children’s dental health books you can buy on her website or on Amazon – Teddy Visits the Dentist and Teddy Gets a Filling – Elizabeth also has a new book in the editing phase now.
We’ll be sure to showcase Teddy Visits the Dentist: Teddy Talks Prevention, A Compassionate Guide to a Peaceful and Positive Visit to the Dentist when it’s released, but today we talk writing to positively communicate children’s dental health in Part 1, and next week we’ll bring you some of Elizabeth’s best tips for making your child’s visits to the dentist actually an enjoyable rewarding experience.
Elizabeth, you have a real knack for writing to kids – how did you go from being a dental hygienist to a published author?
I love to write! I always have.
The concept of the Teddy books was born four years ago using my clinical experiences as a Registered Dental Hygienist as the motivation for creation. I wrote the stories and although they remained scribbled in my notepad untouched for a year, I thought about them all the time.
As I practiced dental hygiene in general dental offices I kept running into situations where children and parents were apprehensive about their appointments or had questions about what would happen that day at their routine dental checkup and cleaning appointment.
How ideal it would be to reference the stories and suggest them as a guide for parents!
Teddy and the positive impact he could have didn’t leave my mind, even for a day. I knew this was something I had to do; the timing was right and it was the right thing to do for the children.
I spent a year researching my publishing options and learning all I could about this new world of books. There was a lot to learn!
It was a whole new world for me and very different from what I was used to but I was determined that with education and perseverance I could be successful in self-publishing.
Once I had decided how Teddy would get from being a scribble in my notepad and into the lives of children all over the world, there was no looking back.
I spent another year working on the intricacies of publishing by formatting and editing two of my manuscripts while my sister worked on the illustrations, and finally I published Teddy Visits the Dentist in March 2012 and Teddy Visits the Dentist: Teddy Gets a Filling in November 2012.
Since publishing the books, my life has been a whirlwind of activity!
The learning curve of self-marketing and running a small business is steep, but I like the challenge.
What was your inspiration for writing Teddy Visits the Dentist & Teddy Gets a Filling?
Children would arrive for their appointments with me and ask me lots of questions.
They would have apprehensions about their dental treatment, because they didn’t know what to expect or what would happen to them while they were there.
Parents and adults close to them would do their best, but could not always answer the questions satisfactorily enough to alleviate the concerns, and on occasion would answer inappropriately with jokes or references to scary experiences of their own.
Parents themselves asked me the same questions their children did as they were unfamiliar with what to expect as well.
Questions are encouraged and expected at a dental visit, but what if there was an educational resource they could access before they even visited the dental office?
Something they could trust to teach them what to expect from their dental health care providers?
I was inspired to write the books because we need a product like The Teddy Visits the Dentist Series on the market.
There are no other books like the Teddy series. Written by a dental professional, written accurately yet not in an intimidating fashion, these books are the answer for families in preparing them for their dental visits.
As a practicing RDH I was always on the lookout for fun ways to educate children so they would look forward to their visits. I found books with familiar children’s characters but they didn’t accurately portray the dental profession. I also found stories about plaque, cavities and losing teeth yet nothing seemed to fit the need I was searching for… so I created it.
A routine checkup and cleaning and a filling appointment are done very frequently at the dental office, we need to talk about it!
Even though they are common procedures each patient is individual in their needs and it is necessary that as a dental professional we must meet those needs.
Teddy Visits the Dentist and Teddy Gets a Filling take children and parents through routine dental visits step by step, using terminology heard in the dental office and illustrated accurately to show them what to expect.
Knowledge is everything; it gives parents and children the confidence to be happy dental patients.
I want to tell all children what to expect at their dental appointments, why they need to visit the dentist and to spread the word that they can and will have a great visit!
Why limit my experience and expertise to just my own clientele?
I want to make a positive difference in the world and this is one way I am trying!
One of my goals is to break down the barriers to health care so all children, everywhere, can have a healthy mouth and healthy life.
Have you published any other dental-centric children’s books, or do you have any in the editing stages now?
I am excited to tell you I am in the editing phase of Teddy Visits the Dentist: Teddy Talks Prevention, A Compassionate Guide to a Peaceful and Positive Visit to the Dentist.
This is the third volume in the series and a chapter book geared to adults in hopes that by alleviating their concerns we can achieve a positive outlook towards oral health and total body health for the whole family.
Teddy Talks Prevention will address knowing your healthcare provider, making informed decisions about your health, embracing dental concerns, fears and phobias, primary prevention for oral health, general overviews of some dental procedures, survival tips, funny anecdotes, a glossary of terms and a note from me to all dental patients. Its publication date is unknown at this time.
Who better to tell a children’s dental health story than a dental hygienist?
Tune in next week as Elizabeth drops some dental health knowledge for parents looking to make their children’s trip to the dentist peaceful & positive.