Did you know that the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children first see a dentist before their first birthday?
Whether you’re a new parent or a seasoned pro, you want to take care of your kid’s health. In the same way you send your child to a pediatric doctor who specializes in medical care for children, you should also send him or her to a pediatric dentist for their oral care.
Visiting the dentist in your child’s first year may seem early, but this is a pivotal time as your child’s baby teeth are appearing.
You can get things off to a great start by visiting a pediatric dentist who can examine the health of your child’s first few teeth.
Here are 5 key things to consider when choosing the right pediatric dentist for your child:
1 Do they have Special Training?
Pediatric dentists are uniquely qualified to protect your child’s oral health. This is because they have an additional two to three years of training, in addition to four years of dental school and four years of college study. Some pediatric dentists (including those at Chester County Dentistry for Children) practiced general dentistry before specializing, giving them a unique perspective.
The specialty training teaches them how to deal with children’s behavior, make kids feel comfortable, and create a pleasant experience. Pediatric dentists also receive training and qualifications for treating patients with special needs.
2 Do they Provide a Fun, Welcoming Environment?
Many people fear going to the dentist...even adults. That’s why our primary responsibility is to ensure that going to a pediatric dentist is not a frightening experience. We designed our offices to be bright, happy places for both the physical and psychological needs of children. You’ll find an environment that brings about ear-to-ear smiles and radiates a friendly tone.
But it’s not just the building or the decor...the people here are fun and welcoming too! We believe the workplace should be fun, especially for our patients.
We use positive language, even when things might be uncomfortable, to help children have a positive experience. We describe things with words like pinch, wiggle, whistle, and raincoat to describe the dental environment.
We also use a technique called “TELL, SHOW, DO” while treating your child:
- We will TELL your child what we are going to do
- SHOW them what we are going to do
- and DO the procedure
The main goal here is to build trust and establish communication with the child. Sometimes this requires funny voices or nonverbal expressions, and we will do whatever it takes to ensure your child is comfortable with their pediatric dentist.
3 Do they Take a Preventative Approach?
It’s always better to be proactive instead of reactive, and pediatric dentistry is no exception. Waiting until your child already has a cavity that causes pain is too late. Since children are much more susceptible to tooth decay than adults, you want to find a dentist who understands the mouths of children and can recognize problems before they become even more problematic.
At our dental office, we offer several treatments that help prevent tooth decay in children. One example is a dental sealant, which forms a protective shield over the enamel of each tooth. Baby teeth have tiny grooves that make it almost impossible to keep clean, even if your child brushes regularly. Dental sealants help protect those grooves and prevent tooth decay.
Another preventative approach is fluoride treatment. Fluoride makes teeth more resistant to decay and even repairs tiny areas of decay before they become big cavities. We start by examining the amount of fluoride your child already receives through tap water or toothpaste, and if necessary, recommend fluoride supplements.
Dental sealants and fluoride treatment can prevent 95% of tooth decay, providing a healthy smile for your child for years to come.
4 Do they Treat You Like Family?
It’s important to have a relationship with your pediatric dentist built on trust. Your child’s oral health is important, and you need to know that they are in good hands. Our mission is to be a group of dedicated professionals who believe in building lasting relationships in our communities and with our patients.
That means we treat each patient like family. We treat others the way we want to be treated, and offer personalized care to meet your child’s specific needs. We hold ourselves to the highest standards of integrity, and seek to be completely honest in every evaluation and treatment. And of course, we love making visits a fun experience for both you and your child.
5 How did the Consultation Go?
A child’s first visit to the dentist should be more of a consultation. It is a chance to get to know the pediatric dentist, both for you and your child. This will give you a chance to observe the environment-- does it feel safe and welcoming? Does your child seem comfortable around the pediatric dentists? Does the pediatric dentist seem competent and capable to care for your child’s unique needs?
If you are looking for a pediatric dentist for your child, then look no further! Chester County Dentistry for Children has three convenient locations in West Chester, Lionville, and Kennett Square.
Contact us today for your consultation. Building healthy smiles that last well into the future is our passion, and we love meeting new families. We look forward to the opportunity to welcome you and care for your child’s oral health.
You can also read more about this topic on our Pediatric Dentistry FAQs page.