January 1, 2020
Children often have a fear of the unknown and visiting the dentist is no different for many of them. To address those fears and concerns, David Markiewicz, DMD ’19, published his first children’s book entitled, “Dentists are Monsters” in early January. The book is a story told through the lens of Tony, a newly erupted tooth in the mouth. Soon after joining the mouth, Tony begins to hear terrifying stories about the dentist from other teeth. For example; is it true that dentists wear masks because, like dragons, they can breathe fire? Eventually, Tony is forced to confront the rumors and visit the dentist where he learns that they are, in fact, not monsters!
“I wanted to introduce the scary things kids think about dentists, but then show what dentists actually do,” he said. In the book, the dentist takes an X-ray of Tony to make sure he was strong, and he uses a special toothbrush to clean Tony, leaving him shiny, bright and clean.
Dr. Markiewicz spent over two years writing and working with illustrators, editors, publishers, and printers to bring you this story.
Dr. Markiewicz was in his third year at the UIC College of Dentistry, just as he was going through his pediatric rotation, when he began working on a children’s book. His goal: help kids and their parents understand that there is nothing scary about dentists.
“Kids come in with these preconceived notions about how scary dentists are,” he said. “I wanted to address that head on.”
So why did he work so hard to bring Tony’s story to life? It is estimated that nearly 75% of all adults and children experience some sort of dental anxiety. Dr. Markiewicz believes that readers (both parents and children) can relate to the anxieties and fear Tony experiences prior to his dental visit. Dental anxiety often leads to missed appointments, which can result in more costly and extensive treatment. Dr. Markiewicz hopes that this book reassures readers that it is okay to be scared of the dentist, but simultaneously encourages them to confront those fears and maintain good oral hygiene.
A general dentist in a family practice, Dr. Markiewicz said he uses the book as a tool to help educate children. Parents can also relate to the anxieties and fear Tony is experiencing. In addition, Dr. Markiewicz’s wife is a teacher, which has given him an opportunity to read the book in a classroom setting.
The response, especially from other dentists, has been very positive and supportive, Dr. Markiewicz said. He had just gone through his first order of books.
In practice, he hopes to make uncomfortable and anxious dental visits a thing of the past. Dr. Markiewicz’s goal is to change the stigma of dentistry one patient at a time.