Making Your First Kids Dentist Trip A Success

For kids dentist visits can be very frightening experiences, especially for the first time.  The sights, smells, and sounds of the dentist office are all very foreign to children, and can be quite upsetting.  Enter the large person wearing a mask, and you have a recipe for a meltdown.  When you are choosing a dentist for your children, there are some important factors to consider if you want to make the experience as easy on your children as possible. 

A pediatric dentist specializes in the care and treatment of the teeth of infants, children, and teenagers.  Pediatric dentistry requires two to three more years of training to be able to meet the special needs of children.  This training includes teaching the dentist how to make children feel comfortable.  Their offices are also designed with children in mind. 

While choosing a dentist for your children, you definitely want someone with the proper experience dealing with kids.  You should expect to see an office that is set up for kids.  It should include kid sized furniture, magazines and books for children, and possible drawings on the wall.  Toys and games might also be part of making a child feel more at home and less traumatized. 

When you see the dentist, does he or she look scary from a childs point of view? Does the dentist wear a plain white mask or one with pictures on it?  Also, does the dentist have special programs for the kids like a zero cavity club to make the visits more fun?  It is also important to know that the dentist allows parents to be present in the room.  While older children and teenagers will prefer for their parents to wait in the lounge, small children often require the security of knowing that mom or dad is close by incase they get scared. 

Kids dentistry is as much about the chair side manner as it is about the work being done.  An uncomfortable child will not sit still for an examination or a cleaning.  A good kids dentist will use specific techniques to put the child at ease.  Among these techniques is showing the child what a dental tool is and does before using it.  A good childrens dentist will start the exam with an easy conversation and maybe a game to put the child at ease. Frequent praising for good and brave behavior is another common tactic.  It is also important for these dentists to be able to deal with problem children in a professional manner that prevents possible injury. 

Of course, a successful trip to a kids dentist office starts at home.  There are things parents can do to get their child ready for the visit.  Talking about the visit is a good start.  Telling the child what will happen in a simple manner will prevent your child from frightening surprises.  Explain that the dentist is going to count the teeth and take special pictures.  Dont talk about how scared you were as a child, and absolutely do not talk about needles or drills.  Keep the explanations simple, straight forward, and safe.  Find books or videos about kids going to the dentist and look at them together so you can be there to answer questions.  Books and videos will have pictures of the inside of a dentist office so the child can become familiar with some of the sights prior to the visit.  You can also have your child draw a picture of their mouth or teeth to give to the dentist.  This will help you child break the ice with the dentist and build trust.

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