We’ll make your kid feel special…
Decisions regarding your family’s health care are important and require time and research. Choosing your child’s dentist certainly falls into that category. We suggest you find a pediatric dentist in your area – a dental specialist who is uniquely trained to treat children from infancy through their teenage years. In other words, a Dr. Tooth Guardian who will help you protect and guard your children’s teeth.
Pediatric dentist make kids feel special and their offices are especially designed for children. It is my opinion that most general dentist do not have the extra time or training and staff to help young, apprehensive children feel good about seeing dentist and taking care of their teeth.
Certainly there are general dentists who fit the category of Dr. Tooth Guardian, and your dentist is the first person you should turn to for a referral. Ask if he or she is comfortable working on children. If not, ask for a recommendation.
If it is necessary to continue your search, ask around for referrals from parents you know and trust. When you are asking for referrals, also ask what makes their child’s dentist so special. Here are a few other sources for referrals:
- Family and friends
- Your children’s school or daycare workers or other parents
- Co-workers or church members
- Your child’s pediatrician
Time to do your research
Once you have your referrals, it is time to act. Arrange for a short “get acquainted” visit with the dentist and staff. Most dental offices wil let you do this before actually committing to an examination or treatment.
Let your parental intuition kick in. During the on-site visit, determine if you and your child will feel comfortable. Is a long-term relationship possible with the dentist?
Ask what techniques the dentist uses to calm and persuade a young child to cooperate with treatment. Does the dentist use medication or any type of physical restraints? It is important that you are comfortable with the dentist’s reply. At one time, two restraining procedures – the hand-over-mouth restraint and the use of a papoose (similar to a strait jacket) were used in dental offices. In fact, dentist were taught to use these restraints in dental school. Of course, these practices are no longer appropriate (but may still be used by someone somewhere).
Ask if anyone on the dental team is trained in children’s CPR (This is especially important if your child has asthma, drug allergies, or any condition which involves the heart and lungs).
When you go for a get-acquainted visit, the dentist is also getting acquainted with you and your child, and determining what he or she needs to do in order to make the child feel more comfortable. So, don’t be shy about arranging the get-acquainted visit prior to making an actual appointment.
After you have chosen Dr. Tooth Guardian
If at all possible, try to avoid having your child’s first appointment be an emergency appointment. Aim to have your child’s first dental visit around his or her first birthday, when the first teeth start to arrive.
Some dentist will refuse to perform any treatment when they have never met the child before. This is important because the dentist and patient must build a trusting relationship before the dentist starts any “scary” procedures.
If right off the bat a child is given a shot, or his or her mouth is forced to remain open for a long time, or the dentist uses the drill and the sound frightens the child, he or she will surely grow up hating to go to the dentist.
Finally, and equally important, always remember that when you take care of mama’s teeth you also take care of baby’s teeth. Your children could be just a kiss away from catching your decay or gum infection. Remember that decay and gum disease are transmissible. Without meaning to, you can spread bad bacteria to your child’s mouth.
Make sure that everyone in the family is in good oral health when your baby arrives.