Over the years, I remember having the hardest time choosing a Pediatric Dentist. – At least, one that would cause the minimum amount of horror for my children. My kids have not always been great team players when it comes to a visit to the dentist. They’d make their own demands and outright refuse service that they find intimidating or scary or that they just don’t want to be bothered with. It has gotten a lot easier with Leila now that we’ve managed to work out a system that works for everyone, but Samara is still in her early stages of going to the dentist regularly, so it can still be pretty horrific.
After our last trip to the dentist, however, I think we finally broke her! I now take the girls to Dentistry for Children over in Smyrna and that last visit was the best experience ever! I had back to back appointments scheduled for the girls just for a regular exam and cleaning. Seemed simple enough, but I could hear them plotting a rebellion all the way to the dentist. Like, “ok…neither of us open our mouths today and we’ll get to go home early…” (They didn’t actually say that, but the looks they gave said it all.)
We got to the dentist’s office and I think they forgot the plan…for a while. They started playing video games, watching a movie and having a blast in the waiting area. They probably could’ve stayed there all day when we were called back. Leila’s visit went off without a hitch…she’s all talk now, no action. Samara, on the other hand was determined to follow through with their plan. The Dental Assistant took us back to the x-ray room and even though she’d seen Leila do it, she did not want to cooperate. I don’t remember what that pivotal moment was, but next thing I knew, the girls were laughing hysterically along with the Dental Assistant and you’d think they were long lost friends!
Then, she got a little skeptical when the Hygienist (Britni) came by, but learned pretty quickly that she was cool too and that calmed her down. By the time our Pediatric Dentist came out, she was totally calm and still joking around. It was smooth sailing for the rest of the visit and they actually ask me now when they get to go back!
So what are some of the things you need to factor in when choosing a Pediatric Dentist? Here are my top 5:
Well Trained Professionals
A good Pediatric Dentist should have had two additional years of residency training for babies, kids, teens and kids with special needs. In addition, they should be knowledgeable about dental habits and issues that especially effect children such as things like thumb sucking, assessment of normal tooth development, sealants, etc.
I work really closely with our Pediatric Dentist, Dr. Mindy Simms at Dentistry for Children Smyrna each time with Leila because she’s somehow managed to inherit all of my husband’s and my dental issues from gaps on the top, to overcrowding.
Kid-Friendly and Upbeat Staff
Your child will likely see a pediatric dentist from infancy through adolescence, so you definitely do not want them dreading each visit. As you’ve probably gathered, this is a huge reason I love our dentist’s office. The entire staff is always extremely positive and have great interaction with the kids which makes a huge difference.
This is mostly when it comes to their level of creativity to get your kids to cooperate and make it a productive visit. I know Leila used to dread the little polisher gun they use during a cleaning, even after they’ve shown her how it works and let her choose her polish flavor. Our Hygienist at Dentistry for Children was always so patient and willing to try different things like instead applying it with a toothbrush so she wouldn’t freak out as much. It’s such a minor difference, but there are dentists who would rather not do it at all than to just switch up the technique a little.
Willingness to Educate
A good Pediatric Dentist should not only care for your children’s teeth in the office, but should be willing to educate both you and your child on proper dental care at home. Our dentist was the one to really drive the point home to the girls about how important it is to floss, how long and the proper way to brush. She also gives me a tutorial I need to help my kids while at home.
Clean, pleasant environment and facility
Last, but not least, a nice facility is a turn on for everyone. A bright, colorful office with fun toys in the waiting room help to make the experience much more fun for children. I think my kids would add that an awesome prize wall is a major plus as well. I never understood giving kids lollipops at the dentist’s office (yes, it happens), but instead, our dentist has a wall full of cool toys for the kids to choose from along with a sticker. That is, in addition to the coveted “swag bag” with the to-go toothbrush, toothpaste and floss. I even get mesmerized myself by this wall mural at our Dentistry for Children office on the right. I believe I was told that it was made by a patient’s parent. Pretty nice, huh?
All smiles at the dentist’s office! What things do you look for when choosing a Pediatric Dentist?
Disclosure: I have been compensated to share my experience via this post. As always, all opinions are mine!