Choosing your Children's Dentist: Things to consider
So you’re on the lookout for a dentist who will be suitable to treat your child, but you’re unsure if a general dentist is the same as a child-specific dentist? You may have heard the term ‘paediatric dentist’ and wondered just what sets them apart from the generalists?
It’s a fair thing to wonder, given the oral health needs of infants and children vary dramatically from those of the broader population. We thought we would help you understand the difference so you can make your next appointment with confidence.
What Makes a Children’s Dentist Different?
Most times, specialist paediatric dentists treat children, from infancy through to adolescence, primarily in a hospital setting or under general anesthetic if required. They are experts in dealing with the most common oral health issues that occur during the developmental years.
It is also possible to find some general dentists who have experience in treating children. With continued education and highly developed skills, general dentists can at least assist you with finding the correct practitioner for your needs if they do not have the capability to assist you at their own practice.
Whoever it is that you are seeing, it is just important to ensure they are trained to understand the unique psychology of young people. If they are, they will implement age-appropriate techniques in dealing with patients to ensure their proper understanding of oral health as well as ensuring a positive visit is experienced at the dental clinic.
Most importantly, they will use tools and equipment designed for children. The child-friendly equipment and tools make a whole world of difference in making the dental office a nice place to be.
What can you expect of a Dentist when it comes to helping your family?
It can be difficult to decide who to see when it comes to your child’s oral health, but it can also be equally as difficult to determine what kind of services your child needs and when it is truly required.
Some of the services you should expect from your child’s dentist include:
Just as the old adage goes, prevention is much better than a cure. As such, it goes without saying that your child’s dentist will encourage regular check-ups to ensure any conditions are determined early and necessary changes are put in place to protect your child’s dental health into the future.
Education for parents
Not only will your child’s dentist help you with some of the more technical aspects of your child’s oral health, lessons on preventative dental care, such as how to clean the little ones’ mouth, the importance of fluoride treatments, and the right nutrition, are all things your practitioner can guide you on.
Encouragement & Support
Your child’s oral maintenance can also cover counselling on children’s habits such as pacifier use and thumb-sucking, and genetic factors that can affect oral development.
Information on possible treatments in the future
Dentists can tell quite early if a child will require orthodontic braces in the future. Therefore, engaging a childhood dentist early can help you prepare in advance for any costly treatments that may be required in the future. You will also be informed on different payment options to make costly orthodontic treatments manageable when the needs arise.
Emergency dental care
Sometimes Emergency Dentistry is required. It’s not something you expect or something you enjoy, but if the time comes, it is good to have someone you know and trust to assist.
So How should you Choose a Dentist for Your Family?
Just like any other professional service, Dentistry is made up of a mixed bunch of practitioners. It’s always best to shop around and undertake a few other key steps when finding a dentist for your family. It is crucial to do a background check to ensure you find a trusted dental professional with whom you can entrust your children’s oral health.
Here are some tips that can help you with this task:
1. Start with those in your area
You want your trips to the dentist to be like all other things you do with children: as easy and stress-free as possible. So, as much as possible choose a dentist with a clinic that is easily accessible to your family. Look for one near your office, the school, or your home.
2. Run a background check
Most of the time, dentists share their credentials online. Read up and find out where they studied, how long they have been in practice, their specialities, and even client reviews.
3. Check out the practice
It’s always worth heading into the dental office of the professional you are considering for your child. Not only will a visit help you put your mind at ease, it will help you decide whether the office will be appealing to your little individual. Check-ups will be a thousand times easier if they like the place.
4. Make sure that the dentist gels with your child
More so than with adult dentistry, childhood dentistry demands a very personable, friendly professional. The personality of your child’s dentist should reflect your home situation so that your child will easily warm to them and be more likely to enjoy their dentist visits. They may even look forward to each dental appointment, if you’re lucky!
5. And lastly, see what the assisting staff are like as well!
Vital to any practice is the clinic staff! Like any other service industry, the entire process of a dentist visit is made much easier when the conduct and demeanour of staff is friendly and helpful. Ideally, you’ll want to feel comfortable in the waiting room knowing the clinic staff have the patience and knowledge to make your child’s oral maintenance accessible.
A child’s first visit should be at the age of 3-4 years with a strong emphasis on familiarising them to the dental environment and its team. Find out more about Morrin Dental and Children’s Dentistry via our website. Alternatively, if you would like to speak to our friendly reception team, contact our office on (02) 4929 3077.