Whether you're looking for your child's first dentist, or you're considering trying a new family dentist, there are a few things you should always consider in making your choice. The right dentist can make a huge difference in helping your child establish healthy dental hygiene practices that will stay with them for life.
Here are some of the key things you should consider:
1. Pediatric Qualifications
Obviously, a dentist needs to have a dental qualification. It's just as important that the dentist you choose has experience working with children. A pediatric dentist should have two years of residency training with children since their dental training. This will include children of all ages, and children with special needs, so you can be confident that they will be able to cope with your child, whether they're screaming or asking a ton of questions.
Alongside all this training comes a wealth of experience with children. A good pediatric dentist will be patient as they've probably seen it all before and know that doing a good job is more important than doing a fast job. If you choose a good pediatric dentist, they won't mind an unhappy child who screams the whole session, or an inquisitive kid who wants to ask questions about everything.
2. Education About Dentistry
Good pediatric dentists appreciate the value of lifelong dental hygiene. That's why a good pediatric dentist will make sure to teach your child about what they are doing in their mouths. This includes what all the tools are for, what each process is, and more. This way the child learns to trust the dentist and the process is demystified so your child doesn't develop anxiety about visiting the dentist. A good relationship with the dentist is vital in developing healthy habits early.
3. Kid-Friendly Atmosphere
When you're choosing a pediatric dentist, it's not just the person you need to consider. The dentist's office should be child friendly too. It is especially important to consider your child's preference here. While you might want to focus on the credentials of the dentist, your child is probably thinking more about how the place makes them feel. Helping your child have a good first experience is vital to developing a healthy attitude toward future dental visits.
4. Communicating With Your Child
A good pediatric dentist will make sure your child understands what they are doing, rather than just using medical jargon. They should be able to tell your child what they're doing in a way that your child understands. It's no good having the dentist talk to your kid if the child doesn't understand what's being said.
This links back to what we've already discussed and the major point to consider with this whole process are not just whether the dentist will do a good job, but whether they will set your child up for long term health.
Sometimes, even the best-behaved child can benefit from a little distraction or reward! Knowing that a reward is coming at the end encourages children to cooperate with the dentist, although this only works if they also know that a lack of cooperation won't earn them a prize!
Having toys or a video player in the office also allows you or the dentist to keep your child occupied while they have their check-up. Being able to watch their favourite show on Netflix or YouTube is a great way to keep your kid in the chair and distract them from the tools poking around in their mouth. Successful pediatric dentists appreciate this and will have toys and maybe small rewards on hand to makes sure kids enjoy their visit and build a good rapport straight away.
We hope you find this guide is useful to you in looking for a good dentist for your child. If you want to learn more about South Anchorage Dental Center, get in touch. We'd love to help you out in your search for your child's future dentist!