Going to the dentist can be scary for kids, but it doesn't have to be. Even at a pediatric dentist who specializes in treating children's teeth, your child might put up a fight when it's time to get his teeth cleaned. The good news is you don't have to resign yourself to battle every six months; a little research should help you find a fun dentist who will make regular dental care less of a chore and more of a treat.
What to Look for in a Dentist Office
You'll generally want to stay away from dentist offices that are plain and don't provide anything to do in the waiting room. Instead, look for one that has eye-catching pictures hanging on the wall and brightly colored, entertaining decor. A child-friendly dentist office should have a waiting area full of toys, books and maybe even video games, in addition to a movie or a fish tank to look at. These can help distract your kids and make them more comfortable. Once in the chair, fun pictures on the ceiling give your child something to look at and keep him from focusing on what is happening in his mouth.
What to Look for in a Dentist
A pediatric dentist is one who is specially qualified to be working on your child's teeth. The staff at a pediatric dentist's office are friendly and fun and will put your child at ease by introducing themselves and calling your child by name. If possible, ask that the tools be brought out after your child lies down so they aren't right there when he gets to the chair. Many dental offices geared toward kids have cute, non-threatening names for the tools, such as "Mr. Suction" for the spit collector tube.
Once finished, your child will be much more receptive to returning to the dentist if he is given a prize or reward after his appointment. Children will usually receive a sticker or a new toothbrush from their dentist, but it's even more fun if you can find a one who gives copies of his tooth x-rays, toys, or books.
How to Find a Fun Dentist
Before booking a dental appointment, check out potential dentists. Leave your child at school or with a sitter and pay a visit to each of your prospective options. You'll be able to see right away if your child will enjoy being there or will be ready to leave before you even get signed in. Don't be afraid to ask questions - talk to the receptionist, the dental hygienists and the dentist, as time allows, and pose any questions you have. If they are open to helping you, you've probably found a dentist you can trust with your child.