Some dentists using restraining devices on young children

CARROLL COUNTY, GA -- Some dentists are opting to use restraining devices to hold children down during their appointments.

At least two parents told ABC affiliate WSB-TV that their kids were put in a device known as a "papoose board" during their dental checkup at Smiles-R-Us in Carrollton, Georgia.

James Crow says he took his 5-year-old daughter to get a tooth pulled. The dentist refused to let the parents into the room.

"We were sitting out in the waiting room and all of a sudden, we heard somebody screaming," Evelyn Crow said.

Elizabeth's father says he rushed into the exam room, and that's when he found his daughter alone and in physical restraints.

"I couldn't see my kid in the body bag just strapped down to the bed, I couldn't handle it," Crow said.

Crow's grandmother questioned the dentist's office about the restraints. They told her they were forced to use them when the 5-year-old didn't want to cooperate.

The devices are completely legal, and a spokesperson for the Georgia Board of Dentistry said there are no rules, laws, or regulations on when dentists can use these restraints. However, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends only using the devices under certain circumstances.

"Protective stabilization, with or without a restrictive device, performed by the dental team requires informed consent from a parent. A parent's signature on a consent form should not preclude a thorough discussion of the procedure," the guidelines read.

An employee told WSB-TV that the office always requires parents to sign consent forms before any procedure. Those consent forms include use of the papoose board.

"The only thing they said was they were going to put her on some laughing gas," Crow said. "I think they should make a law for dentists not to restrain children like that."
Copyright © 2019 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.