First impressions are everything, and it’s great when a child’s first dental experience is a positive one. It is very important to get off on the right foot, or tooth as the case may be! Choosing the right dentist for your child’s first dental visit is the first step. Here are three things to consider when choosing a dentist for your child:
Make Sure the Practice Sees Children. A pediatric dentist is a former general dentist that did two to three years of extra training after dental school in pediatric dentistry and limits the practice only to the treatment of children. This might be the right choice for you and your child. There are also many general dental offices that are comfortable and capable of seeing small children for dental appointments. It can add a layer of convenience to have the same dentist for you, your children, and your other close family members. When you find someone you trust, it’s important to hang on to that person!
Ask a Lot of Questions at the Appointment. A significant portion of the first visit with a child and parent is just talking and getting to know one another. Establishing the relationship and getting on the same page philosophically is of the utmost importance. Preventative care is typically discussed in detail as well as clearing up any confusion about taking care of children’s teeth. If your child has dental problems that need to be addressed, ask the dentist if he/she has treated this type of case in the past. Ask what you can do as a parent to make sure your child does not continue to have dental problems.
You and Your Child Should Feel Welcome and Comfortable. Having children in a dental practice is a scenario where communication goes three ways. It is essential that the doctor, the parent/guardian, and the child all work together so that the child has the best experience possible. If your child is the inquisitive type and asks a lot of questions, it is important to find a dentist who is a good listener and can engage with your child. If your child is nervous or has had a bad dental experience already, it is important to find a dentist who is very patient that can help your child work through it.
If you walk out of your first dental visit with your child feeling confident and pleased, that’s a great feeling. Creating a trusting relationship with another person is of great value and it’s really hard to put a dollar figure on that. You owe it to your child and you owe it to yourself to choose a dentist that you fully trust with your child’s care.