Newton dentist hopes to take the fear out of appointments for kids

Newton dentist hopes to take anxiety out of appointments for kids

NEWTON - Bubble Dentistry in Newton is hoping to eliminate the fear of appointments for children.

"Fear more than any other factor keeps people away from the dentist and I would say a lot of it is unwarranted," owner and CEO Dr. Anna Berik told WBZ-TV. "Come as you are. We're going to work with you. We're going to do the best that we can. We welcome it."

With a playful, ocean-themed office, games to play while waiting and a comforting staff specialized to work in pediatric dentistry, it's easy to see why so many kids love going here.

"I like the dentist. It's pretty cool and I like the fishes," said six-year-old patient Regan Der.

But they also offer something extra special - services for children on the autism spectrum.

"It's very hard for people who don't fit the norm and then no one opened up their doors to the autistic community. Not, 'Oh yeah we'll see you,' but 'Oh yeah, we welcome you, we want you here,'" said Berik.

"I would recommend it to every parent, whether you have special needs or not. They're kind, they're courteous, they're intelligent," said Regan's mother Kristin.

At Bubble, parents can schedule visits for children to explore before their first appointment. They offer fun sunglasses as goggles, weighted blankets, noise cancelling headphones, an x-ray machine you don't have to sit for and even quiet rooms in the back in case a child doesn't like the noise of the open room. 

"The option of being somewhere that's by yourself, really soothing, no noise, no jumping, no activity around. Sometimes that's required," Berik told WBZ.

You can even request a therapy dog for your appointment.

"It isn't just perfunctory. You have to embrace the concept in order to really make it be something. That's actually a part of the culture here," said Berik.

For many families with neurodivergent children like Der, the experience has changed their lives.

"They made a lot of accommodations in making sure that there were not a lot of extra families around, that it was quiet, that it was early in the morning, when we're at our best," said Kristin Der.

She said they wanted to find a dentist for their family that creates a long-term relationship with her children. She said the staff at Bubble excel at recognizing the needs of her daughter.

"Some of the challenges that we face are doing things out of routine. So being able to come here and do the same routine every time is really helpful. Whether it's we talk first, then we brush, then we rinse, it's always the same," Der told WBZ.

She said they know how to read the room when it comes to working with children of all needs. 

"Sometimes we have a hard time being verbal and they're very patient in waiting for that comfortable period to talk or letting it sit. They're very mindful of who she is and the behaviors she can exhibit," Der explained.  

The ultimate hope, if the child is on the spectrum or not, is to raise a generation of children who love going to the dentist. 

Every year Bubble partners with the Doug Flutie Foundation which provides services for people on the spectrum. For more information, visit their website.

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