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Pediatric patients travel to operating room in a new fearless ride

A Muscatine dentist implemented a new way for kids to fear the operating room less.
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MUSCATINE, Iowa – When it comes to kids and surgery it can be a stressful experience for both the patients and their parents.

Liam Decker is two-years-old and is having surgery for his first time – leaving mom and dad behind.

“Being so young and leaving with strangers is kind of a difficult thing,” says Liam’s mother, Amber Decker.

Now, Dr. Jarod Johnson, a pediatric dentist, is taking that matter into his own hands by introducing the Mouth Monster Truck to his patients at UnityPoint Health Trinity in Muscatine.

Johnson is a dentist at Arctic Dental, but twice a month he performs surgery at the nearby hospital.  He always wanted a toy truck himself when he was young. Now, he’s bringing his dream to his patients, thanks to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

“The biggest thing for kids is the separation anxiety from their parents,” says Johnson.  “This taken their mind off of it and I’ve noticed a big change and all the kids come back with a smile on their face.”

The kids can drive it if they are old enough and there is also a remote control to override it if they are steering off course.

Luckily for Liam he has some buddies with him on his 50-yard trek to the operating room.

“We’ve got the mouth monsters on the truck – “Tartar the Terrible”, “Ginger Bite-Us”, and “Tooth DK”,” explains Johnson.

The truck’s main mission is focused on keeping the patients calm, so patients like Liam can drive smoothly into surgery.

“It’s about building that relationship with our families and I think this goes that extra mile – no pun intended,” Johnson comments.

The Mouth Monster Truck has a 60-pound weight restriction.