Did you know that children as young as one year old, or who have at least one tooth, should be visiting the dentist regularly? Many parent think that since their children will lose their baby teeth, visits to the dentist aren’t essential until they are much older, but early visits to a kids’ dentist can help prevent tooth decay, inflammation, and other problems. Still other parents believe that their child would be too scared at the dentist at such a young age, and avoid taking them for that reason. In those cases it’s beneficial to find a skilled pediatric dentist that knows how to work with kids. Here are some of the things you can look for when choosing that dentist.
Someone Who Works With Kids
This might seem really obvious, but if you’re worried that your child might not respond well to a traditional dentist, your best bet is to find someone who only works with children. That way they will have the right skills and knowledge to identify diseases that are common in children, plus they will have appropriate chairside mannerisms that will help children feel comfortable during the visit. You should also ask about his or her training—a trained pediatric dentist will have two years of additional residency work beyond their dental school training that specifically teaches them about the needs of babies, children, and teenagers.
A Friendly Atmosphere
One of the scariest things about visiting the dentist is often the “feeling” inside a dental office. Everything is sterile, the waiting rooms are quiet, and the tools are making all kinds of noises that can frighten a child. A great kids dentist office will have toys and other things in the waiting room to ease the tension prior to the visit, office staff who are friendly, and distractions like headphones and televisions with kids’ shows on to help keep the child’s mind off the procedure while it’s happening.
A Convenient Location
You might find the greatest pediatric dentist in all of Utah and really want to take your children there, but if it requires an hour-long drive one-way just to get there, chances are you are not going to take your kids nearly as often as you should. Be sure the kids dentist has an office that is conveniently accessible from where you live or work, and that they have hours that fit with yours and your child’s schedule.
Check Reviews and Recommendations
Just because the sign outside a dentist’s office says “pediatric dentist” doesn’t necessarily mean they are good with kids. That’s where it pays to check online reviews, ask around for recommendations from friends and family, and check with national organizations like the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) to find out if a dentist is qualified and well-liked by his or her patients.
While no parent can completely prevent the anxiety that some children will feel when they visit the dentist, it’s important to make those visits as comfortable and fun as possible so your child is prepared for a lifetime of good oral health.