Most parents understand all too well the feeling of dread associated with taking their children to the dentist. In fact, many parents actually find themselves putting off making appointments with a pediatric dentist, and this is mostly because they have unpleasant memories of their first few dental visits when they were children themselves. They may also be worried that their child will behave in unpredictable ways at the dentist. Fortunately, modern pediatric dentists are trained in techniques designed to create more comfortable and pleasant dental visits for children, so you may be in for a happy surprise.
What is a Pediatric Dentist?
A pediatric dentist is an oral care professional who has graduated from dental school as well as completed a two-year postgraduate course of study concentrating on pediatric dentistry. The pediatric dentist treats patients between the ages of one year and 18 years old and uses only tools, medications, and equipment designed to meet the dental needs of children.
Pediatric dental students learn about orthodontic treatment, cavities, potential problems involving primary teeth, and other issues specific to child dentistry. They are also provided training in child psychology so that they can develop optimal techniques for working with various age groups and calming the fears of anxious children.
What is a Pediatric Dental Office Like?
Pediatric dental offices are designed to provide an ambiance that helps children feel relaxed and happy. For instance, they generally include entertainment options for all ages, such as simple toys for very young children and books and games for those who are older. Although it’s never a good idea to arrive too early for an appointment with your child’s pediatric dentist, it may be a good idea to be a few minutes early so the child can relax by enjoying the entertainment in the waiting room — this may help your child feel more at ease. It’s also a good idea to download the requisite patient forms from your home computer, print them out, and fill them out prior to arriving for the appointment. This ensures that you’ll be able to give your child your full attention while waiting for the dentist.
During the examination period, the pediatric dentist will also have a conversation with your child about his or her activities and interests. This doesn’t just serve to keep the child comfortable and happy — it provides the dentist with insight into the child’s life so that determinations can be made on any special needs your child may have. For instance, children who are active in sports should wear custom designed mouth guards to help prevent the teeth from being damaged as the result of falls and other sports related mishaps.
After the first visit or two, any anxiety your child may have been experiencing at the thought of seeing a dentist will likely have dissipated. Many children come to think of their pediatric dentists as their friend.
Please feel free to contact us if you have questions about taking your child to the dentist for the first time. We’ll be happy to talk with you about your child, tell you about our services, and advise you on how to prepare your child for that first dental visit.