So you have a dentist you’ve been going to for most of your adult life. The dentist seems nice enough and you’ve had your occasional cavities filled with minimal issue. Now, later in your life, you’re fortunate enough to have a child who also needs dental care. Now think back to when you were a kid. Did you like the dentist your parents took you to? Chances are you can’t even remember the dentist’s name you went to as a 5 year old! What was different about your experience than and now? Will the dentist you currently go to be the right choice for your child?
Children have different dental needs than adults. Thus you should consider exploring dentists with expertise working with children. In some cases you may even have to resort to a pediatric dentist. Here are some things to consider when thinking about choosing a dentist for your child:
Prevention is Key
The major difference in finding the right dentist for your child is the emphasis a dentist places on prevention. While adults have a firm sense of how to care for their teeth, children are still formulating their ideas on how to approach dental hygiene. Thus their dentist will play a key role in guiding their hand in proper care. The dentist must know how to communicate well with children on the proper prevention of cavities and tooth decay, guidance on how to brush and floss, and what foods should and should not be eaten or eaten in moderation.
Focus on Development
Children have growth and development concerns that a good dentist will know how to care for. Your child will one day outgrow their baby teeth and transition to adult teeth. Complications may arise during this growth phase and the dentist you choose should be well versed in the care and comfort of your child. A special emphasis should be placed on the dentist with care in the sedation of children to eliminate any risks from office visits or surgery.
Calming the Child’s Nerves
Your child may have an innate fear of going to the dentist, or any doctor for that matter. It could be the result of a fear of strangers, or of unkown things to come form their visit. That’s why choosing a dentist with an emphasis on child treatment is essential. A good bedside manner might be just the thing to help ease your child’s fears. Also, a dentist’s office with a children’s area, or separate tables and chairs and coloring books and toys for children may be enough to quell their fears long enough and distract them from what’s to come.
Pediatric Dentist vs General Dentist
A pediatric dentist is a dentist who specializes in the care of children. They have at least two years of training after dental school requirements. They focus on the development of children’s teeth more exclusively. Alternatively, a general dentist can still treat children and adults of any age and will most likely be the dentist of choice from childhood to adulthood.
When making your choice for your child’s dentist take into account all of the above tips. If you feel comfortable with the dentist you currently use and you feel that they will have a good rapport with your child then it may not matter whether they are a pediatric dentist or not. Once you have followed these tips always remember to follow your instincts.