Community Health Systems, Inc.

Handmade blankets soothe young dental patients’ fears

Donation by staff member’s grandmother raises spirits, reduces tears

Young dental patient with blanket
A young dental patient enjoys covering up with a blanket during a recent appointment.

Community Health Systems’ dental department is doing more than cleaning teeth and preventing cavities this winter—they’re warming our littlest visitors (and a few hearts, in the meantime).

“I would say at least two times a day we get crying kids in the dental office,” says BACHC Registered Dental Hygienist Shelby Swerig.

For example, she had a young patient recently who had had limited experience with dentists, and was scared as a result. “He’s only been here twice, and those were to get teeth pulled,” she explained. “We try to make it a not-awful visit, so he doesn’t only associate the dentist with getting his teeth pulled out.”

In order to give the kids in our dental-practice care a more positive association with their trips to the dentist, Shelby’s grandma—who’s retired, and lives in nearby Sun Prairie, Wisconsin—made dozens of beautiful blankets to comfort young, scared dental patients.

“We decided if there’s like a crying kid, or a kid who seemed a little scared, we could give to them to hold on to, and then they could take it home,” Swerig said.

So far, it’s working.

When the most recent quivering lower lip made an appearance during one young boy’s recent visit to the dental chair, Swerig swooped in with one of her grandmother’s blankets.

“He had a big smile on his face, and he held onto it for the rest of the visit.”