No parent ever wants their kid to cry in fear or develop anxiety when visiting a medical professional. Dentistry can be very intimidating for children (and adults!) because there are a lot of loud tools that need to be used, and some procedures are extremely uncomfortable.
The anxiety of finding the wrong dentist can be overwhelming, so it’s understandable that parents want to make the right choice for both the mental health and the dental health of their children.
Parents also want a dentist for kids who is excited to teach children all of the fascinating things about their mouth and how to take care of it so they can take pride in their smiles!
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to guide you to find the right dentist for your kids:
What Kind of Environment Do They Provide?
A pediatric dentist’s office should be bright, feel welcoming, and be well-organized. Even dentists’ offices for adults are changing their design to make patients more relaxed and to place more emphasis on comfort.
Shouldn’t your kid’s dentist’s office also have a welcoming feel? Going to the dentist can be intimidating, but with bright colors and friendly staff, children can have a positive experience.
You should also consider how the attitude of the staff impresses and educates your kids. Do they talk to your child with respect and explain to them what procedures they will do? Do they empathize with you when you have a lot of questions, or are they rude and impatient?
Your child’s dentist and staff should treat your whole family with patience, respect, and compassion.
Do They Teach Prevention?
Children are prone to cavities, which are no fun for kids or parents to fix.
A great pediatric dentist recognizes problems before they worsen and takes steps to prevent tooth decay, such as fluoride treatments and dental sealants.
In addition, they should take time to show their children how to floss and brush properly.
What Are Their Credentials?
Pediatric dentistry calls for a certain type of person who is equally friendly and exceptionally skilled. Most dentists complete four years of undergrad and then four years of graduate studies in dentistry.
As with medical doctors, they continue their education in post-doc programs in specializations ranging from periodontics or oral and maxillofacial pathology.
After dental school, pediatric dentists must complete two years of residency in dentistry specializing in infants, kids, teens, and children with special needs.
Professional dentists develop strong relationships with other dentists over time. Your pediatric dentist should be respected among their peers and be able to make excellent recommendations for specialists, such as orthodontists, should your child require one.
How Do Their Staff Treat You?
The questions you have as a parent change throughout your child’s life, and each one matters. Do the staff take your concerns seriously, or do they make you feel intimidated or ignored?
All parents deserve to feel heard when talking about their child’s health and to feel they have a partnership with their child’s dentist.
Most likely, you will see this dentist until your child is old enough to make medical decisions on their own, so you want to build that long-term relationship with someone who treats you like family.