How to Find a Kid-friendly Dentist
Although more parents know about the importance of age-1 dental visits, many parents may still wonder about what kind of dentist can provide care for their child.
According to Academy of General Dentistry spokesperson Cindy Bauer, DDS, MAGD, many general dentists treat children.
"Parents should seek out a dental office that provides a fun environment for children, so that they are excited about coming to the dentist's office."
For that reason, many dentists have made an effort to incorporate child-friendly design into their office environment. They provide entertainment – such as books, video games, television and movie access – for their patients.
To prepare the child for the visit, parents should ask the dentist about the procedures of the first appointment so there are no surprises. Plan a course of action for either reaction the child may exhibit – cooperative or non-cooperative. Very young children may be fussy and not sit still. Talk to the child about what to expect and build excitement, as well as understanding, about the upcoming visit. Bring to the appointment any records of the child's complete medical history.
Parents who feel their child is anxious about a dental visit should ask their dentist if they will schedule a pre-visit. Many dentists use pre-visits to alleviate any fear or anxiety by acclimating them to the office environment. The dentist will walk the child around the office, show them the tools, allow them to sit in the chair and even demonstrate on a family member to help them become comfortable.
Most importantly, parents should make sure their child regularly visits a dentist, reminds Dr. Bauer. "This will help them have better oral health for the rest of their lives."
How to keep your child from being anxious about the dentist:
Talk to the dentist about the best way to communicate with your child about dental visits.
Ask the dentist to take your child on a tour of the office and explain the equipment.
Ask if the dentist will allow a relative to accompany the child in the treatment room.
Avoid caffeine or sugary foods before a dental appointment.
Updated: February 2007