Your child’s teeth are more than a goofy grin waiting to morph into a beaming smile. Healthy teeth are an important factor in their overall health.
What many parents don’t realize is the seriousness of dental caries, the medical term for the disease commonly known as tooth decay. According to the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation, tooth decay is the #1 chronic childhood illness in America. It’s even more common than asthma and diabetes.
That’s why it’s so important to make finding a kids dentist a priority.
Choosing a dentist isn’t something to be taken lightly. A good kids dentist has experience working with kids and knowledge about how a child’s teeth develop.
We’ve developed this guide to explain everything you need to know about children’s dentistry and how to choose the best kids dentist for your family.
When is Time to Take Little Ones to the Dentist?
The Mouth Monsters don’t want you to know that tooth decay happens in kids as young as one year old.
Starting early with visits to the dentist can help alleviate some of the anxiety that may occur as your child gets older. It also establishes a “dental home.” You’ll know where to go for regular, preventive visits and, more importantly, have a place to go in case of dental emergencies.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends scheduling the first visit at age 1 or when the first tooth erupts.
Qualities to Look For in a Good Kids Dentist
These are some of the characteristics to look for when considering a dentist for your children.
Welcoming Kid-friendly Environment
An office that looks “adult only” will not do much to put a child at ease. Look for a practice that offers a variety of kids activities. This includes games, book, toys, and TVs to play children’s movies to keep the kiddos distracted.
Look for a kids dentist who will inspire your child to take good care of their teeth. An upbeat, optimistic demeanor helps a child feel at ease. This makes them more open to appreciating the importance of good oral care.
Patience for Little Ones
Dentist visits may be difficult for a small child to sit still through. Find a dentist who handles the fidgeting in a calm, composed manner.
Another way to gauge the dentist’s attitude toward children is by the language they use. Speaking in overly technical terms, rather than using easy to understand, kid-friendly words can make the experience overwhelming for a child.
Sense of Humor
One of the big challenges a kids dentist should know to prepare for is the tears of fear. A smile and a sincere laugh go a long way to lessen the dental anxiety of a little one.
A seasoned kids dentist will improvise in order to calm a scared or crying child. A dentist who employs techniques like telling jokes, sharing funny stories or talking in a silly voice is a kid pro.
Your child will feel much more comfortable when walking into a friendly and positive atmosphere. Pay attention to how you and your child are greeted. Kids who feel welcomed are more likely to relax before sitting in the dentist chair. Another way to get a feel for the office is to observe staff interactions with the dentist.
Another way to get a feel for the office is to observe staff interactions with the one another, as well as the dentist. A happy staff says a lot about how they are treated.Adapt to each unique child
Offers Emergency Dental Care
Let’s face it. Kids and accidents go hand-in-hand. Unfortunately, you cannot control when those accidents happen.
Find out if the office offers an after-hours answering service. When choosing a kids dentist, look for one that is available in case of emergencies.
It’s also important to know what types of dental accidents are emergencies and which are necessary to start panicking about. When interviewing a new dentist make sure to ask what types of emergencies they treat after-hours.
Takes Time to Educate
Children are curious by nature. Once they get over any anxiety they may have the interesting questions will flow. A great kids dentist is more than happy to answer even the silliest of questions.
Your dentist should make it a priority to educate you and your child on the importance of healthy oral habits. They will explain suggested treatments in simple terms and thoroughly go over the different options available.
A kid-friendly dental office will also make a point of demonstrating the proper way to brush and floss.
Finding the Perfect Kids Dentist
Search for a dentist who has experience treating patients of all ages. A practice that is able to offer services to young and adult alike is very convenient for a busy family.
Here are some suggestions to help in your search:
- Get a recommendation from your pediatrician
- Ask friends, parents at your children’s school and family
- Search local parenting websites and magazines
- Check out online reviews to find out what type of experience other parents have had
- If you’re relocating or moving out-of-state, ask your current dentist for a referral
- Search your area with the American Dental Association website’s Find-a-Dentist feature
We Know the Importance of a Great Smile
When choosing a dentist for your child it’s important to seek out a professional who will make the visit as low stress and pleasant as possible.
A caring kids dentist understands a child’s need to feel cared for and that they are in good hands. Building a level of trust is key to encouraging a child to continue regular check-ups.
At Ideal Dentistry we provide a bright smile and a bright dental future.
If your children and your family need dental care that makes you feel at home, make an appointment today.