How to Choose the Right Dentist for Your Child?
While it’s important to inculcate excellent dental hygiene habits in your children, such as learning to brush their teeth at home, visits to the dentist should also be a priority for your child. Problems with even milk teeth can affect your child throughout their adult life, so introducing them to the right dentist when they’re younger will help reinforce great dental care habits that will last a lifetime.
Much like visiting the doctor, your child may be anxious about visiting the dentist. Dental appliances can seem pretty intimidating, and the unfamiliar sounds and smells of a dental office are strange and potentially alarming to young children. As a guardian, you are in the perfect position to help allay these fears and make their first dental visit hassle-free and potentially even something your child will look forward to as they grow up.
It is Important to be Close to Home
The location of a potential dental office for your children is important. Proximity to their school, work or home will give you more possible appointment times that won’t disrupt schedules. This is especially important if your child spends time in two homes, such as grandparents’ house or another parent’s house nearby. It will provide flexibility for all involved.
Additionally, a local office means the chance for your child to have friends or younger family members visiting the same office. It’s a great way to promote a dentist appointment as a normal healthy experience that everyone shares.
A Comfortable Office
An anxious child can be calmed with spaces designed just for them. Fun colours, child-centered art, toys and games for all ages. This is especially important in medical settings such as the dental practice, as they are likely to hear equipment noises from behind the waiting room door.
The entire dental team in your chosen office should ideally be ready and willing to interact with your child. There should be accessories, illustrations, or other age-appropriate ways to explain why good dental care is important. Many offices that are particularly child-friendly will have special events or staff members to interact with children, such as an office “tooth fairy.” Parents should also have an area at or near the seat to keep an eye on their child. This will help combat tension on both sides.
A Trusted Professional
It is both prudent and wise to ask about your potential dentist’s history. How long have they been providing dental services to children, are there any noticeable complaints, and are their online reviews positive?
While not strictly speaking, a community-based dental office (for example, sponsoring a local sports team) is a point in the positive column. Also, explore the techniques offered by the office. Have team members regularly attend conventions and seminars to discuss and train on the latest pediatric dentistry techniques.
See the Future
While almost every parent at some point wishes their child to stay small forever, growing up is an inevitable reality. With this in mind, you should consider a long-term dental plan for your child; Does your chosen office offer ongoing care for teens and young adults, or is it strictly a pediatric dental checkup?
Orthodontics and wisdom tooth extraction may also be on the radar, so be sure to ask if your office has a branch that will take care of both issues or if it works with a reliable provider for treatment. A variety of age-appropriate services a dental practice will save you the cost of new admission forms, initial examination and X-rays in a new location, and the struggle to adjust to a new provider.
Finding a great dentist with experience in pediatrics can be a challenge, but the benefits of a great dentist-family relationship will manifest in your child’s excellent dental health and attitude. Although there is a toy treasure and a play waiting room that will win them over in the short term, the beautiful smile they will receive is a gift they will never forget.