A child’s first trip to the dentist should happen before his or her first birthday. A pediatric or children’s dentist is specialized in treating the unique needs of children. Although many dentists have experience in treating children, not all have the temperament to deal with children. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises parents to look for the following things when choosing a childrens dentist .
It is not rude to ask a dentist his or her credentials. In addition to their regular dental training, pediatric dentists need an additional two years of training in order to best treat the unique dental needs of babies, toddlers and teens. Ask the dentist if he or she treats a lot of children. Check with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s website to see if the dentist is listed with them.
Ask the dentist if he or she also does oral surgery or orthodontics. Many do not, but can refer you to local oral surgeons and orthodontists. The staff should be willing to help with any paperwork for referrals to oral surgeons and to give parents any directions to an oral surgeon’s office. Most pediatric dentists can help with bad children’s dental habits such as thumb-sucking or grinding the teeth at night.
Look at the waiting room. Are there toys and children’s reading materials set out? Are there any smaller chairs for children or are they all adult-sized? The answer should be yes to both questions.
How does the staff treat children? They should be patient, friendly and calm. They should not be upset or angered by a screaming child. Good pediatric dentists take the time to talk to a child before each procedure. They also talk to the child about good dental habits such as brushing and flossing.
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