You may have heard of the popular saying, “First impressions last.” While this may not be applicable to all situations in life, it certainly can be true in the field of dentistry. Believe it or not, one of the top reasons why people skip dental check-ups is because of fear and anxiety. It may sound funny, but having to drag a hesitant child to the dentist’s clinic to have an aching tooth checked is no laughing matter at all. Hence, it is crucial that your bubba’s first trip to the dentist is a positive experience.
How do we make this possible? Here are 5 things to lookout for when choosing a dentist for your bubba.
Find someone who specialises in children’s dentistry
General dentists can do check-ups and perform dental procedures to an individual regardless of age. However, not all dentists specialise in children’s dentistry.
Paediatric dentists are focused on providing dental care for children as early as their infancy through their teen years. To earn this specialisation, a general dentist undergoes an additional 2 to 3 years of postgraduate paediatric residency. During this time, they learn and train about the various ways of treating dental problems that are common to children. They acquire further knowledge, skills, and technique on paediatric sedation and orthodontics, preventive care, treatment of children with special needs, as well as child psychology and development.
Find a paediatric dentist who understands dental anxiety
The mere mention of the word “dentist” can trigger anxiety, fear, or stress to some people, resulting in the avoidance of getting proper dental care. One study found out that dental fear and anxiety (DFA) is a challenge that is faced by paediatric dentists and is common among children.
Unlike adults, children may not be able to immediately comprehend the different situations that happen around them. Bringing them to see a dentist for the first time, for example, may be overwhelming. It can be challenging for a kid who is naturally shy to interact with a dentist during their initial meeting. That is why it is important that the paediatric dentist you choose for your child understands dental anxiety.
Another reason why dental fear and anxiety affects children can be linked to a negative dental experience. Dental treatments can be stressful and traumatic, so having a paediatric dentist that knows how to explain procedures that are easily understood by a child and perform treatments with utmost care can greatly help their patients cope with these onerous situations.
Remember to lookout for a paediatric dentist that is not only an expert in providing dental care, but is also concerned with the psychological aspects that can affect your child’s oral health.
Make sure the clinic has a warm, friendly environment
The physical set-up of a dental clinic can make or break your child’s dental experience. Try envisioning one and what usually comes to mind are sharp and pointed dental tools and equipment that are, honestly speaking, quite scary. If this is the scenario that your bubba immediately sees as soon as you both step inside the clinic, then you can expect a hard time bringing your little one for a check-up the next time around.
Sitting on a dentist’s chair and being treated with tools that were fabricated for adults can be very uncomfortable and distressing for children, so be sure to check that the clinic’s dental appliances and equipment are kid-friendly.
Most dental clinics nowadays have websites. You can access them online and see how the clinic’s interior looks. You would want to choose a clinic that has friendly staff and an environment that is warm for children.
Schedule an initial consultation
So, you have finally found a dental clinic that suits your liking. Hold up! Just before booking your bubba’s treatment or procedure, set an initial consultation with the paediatric dentist.
An initial consultation with a dentist is very important. It is through this appointment that you can get to know more about the experience of a dental practitioner. Be ready with a list of questions that you would like to ask and also, remember to be observant on how the dentist carries out a conversation with you and your child. This encounter will also be beneficial so your child can be familiar with the dentist and their staff.
Some questions you can ask a paediatric dentist are:
- How often should my child visit the dentist?
- How can tooth decays be prevented?
- How can I enforce healthy oral habits to my child?
- What types of food or drinks should young children avoid to keep their teeth healthy?
- What basic first aid can I do when my child experiences toothache and a visit to the dentist is not urgently possible?
Read online reviews
Thanks to the internet, we can now learn more about the performance and services of a dental clinic by simply reading reviews online. Type in a clinic or dentist’s name then add a keyword like “reviews” or “services” on a search engine tool and it would lead you to writeups relating to this. These online reviews can be helpful when making a decision on choosing the best paediatric dentist for your bubba.
Why choose AnDental?
If you would like your child to be treated with holistic care, then choose AnDental. This clinic specialises in kids dentistry and, as an added bonus, their resident paediatric dentist is also a balloon artist! How cool is that?