A child’s first dental visit can leave a lasting impact on how they’ll respond to the dentist for years to come. With the wrong experiences, a child could become one of the 5-10% of Americans with a strong fear of dentists.
That’s why it’s essential that a child feels comfortable at a pediatric dentist. If that trust is established early, it’ll be easier for a child to take care of their teeth from a young age. It will also make it easier for a family dentist to check for developing problems, like cavities.
Want to know what qualities you should be looking for in a kid’s dentist? Keep reading to find out these five key aspects of a good pediatric dentist.
1. Warm, Inviting, and Child-Friendly
First and foremost, a kid’s dentist should be a kind and calming presence for all patients. The dentist should be well-versed in handling children when they may feel stressed. At no point should a pediatric dentist respond to a child’s emotions in a cold or hostile manner.
Be sure to keep an eye on your child at a visit to the dentist as well. Their reactions can tell you a lot about how accommodated a dentist makes them feel.
Similarly, you should also assess the general atmosphere of the dentist’s office. Does it have warm, playful colors? Or does it feel more like a cold, sterile hospital right out of a scary movie?
Even the smallest things – like coloring books or TV screens – can affect how comfortable your child feels.
2. Willing to Address Parental Concerns
An accommodating dentist will answer any questions you may have about your visit. It should not matter how important or trivial your questions may appear. After all, an understanding dentist would want to inform you about your child’s health.
When it comes to your first visit, be sure to prepare some questions in advance. You will not only be able to learn more about your visit but also how the dentist responds to questions.
3. Knowledgeable and Educational
A kid’s dentist should have a demonstrated and specific understanding of children’s teeth. They should be on the lookout for signs of grinding, thumb sucking, or early loss of baby teeth.
If any symptoms do concern the dentist, they should be able to explain why in a way that’s easy to understand.
This goes for your child, too. Dentists should be interested in teaching children the ins and outs of oral hygiene. They should want to foster a child’s desire to learn more about their teeth in a way that makes sense for their age.
4. Can Control Unexpected Situations
Friendliness and authoritativeness do not have to be opposites. This is an idea that your child’s dentist should understand well.
There will be situations where a child may not want to comply. A good children’s dentist will be able to get a child to cooperate without resorting to harshness.
5. Staff With the Same Qualities
Another question to ask of a dentist’s office: does the staff follow these principles as well?
Every staff member at a dentist’s office leaves an impression on your child. Are any of them unwilling to answer your questions or educate your child? That’s a deal-breaker.
Picking a Quality Kid’s Dentist
These five qualities are the necessities when looking for a new kid’s dentist. But that isn’t to say that there aren’t other things to look for.
For instance, what kinds of medium does the dentist use to educate your child? How much does the dentist converse with your child? And what is the local reputation of your child’s dentist?
The bottom line: keep asking questions. The more you learn about a dentist, the faster you can determine whether they’re a good fit for your child.
Want more tips on how to ensure quality health care for your whole family? Visit our lifestyle and health section!