Parents have the important responsibility of finding a dentist who can make that first experience for their child a pleasant one. Lane Family Dentistry, a dental office serving kids, agrees. They state, “There is something very special about the privilege of being the first one to introduce a child to the world of good oral hygiene.”
If a child’s first experience in the dental chair is a difficult one, many will become fearful. And there are adults who avoid going to the dentist completely because of a bad dental experience during their youth.
Children are encouraged to go to the dentist by the time of their first birthday. Or at the appearance of their first tooth. Why so early? Parents.com suggests this timeframe as it is early enough that the first session is simply one of becoming acquainted with going to the dentist. Instead of a session where the dentist must deal with plaque buildup. Odds are high your child will be less likely to find that experience a pleasant one.
Keep in mind, however, not all dentists are equal. If your dentist displays any of these 3 red flags, you might need to keep looking.
- They do not know how to put your child or you at ease.
It takes a special kind of bedside manner to help a child feel calm while in a dental chair. Dentists who are experienced with children will have a large following of devoted parents. Dentists who are rough and do not know how to interact with children will also have reviews that reflect this.
Your first line of defense is to find out what other parents have to say about the dental office you are considering. Did they feel put at ease? Did their children feel at ease? If not, this is the first warning sign to steer clear.
- They are not militant against germs.
Cross infection happens when a germ or an infection from another patient gets transmitted to you due to laxness in sterilization. If you suspect that your dental office is not militant against germs, then this could be a sign of a much greater problem. Being lax in one area is often just the tip of the iceberg and could mean that this dental office takes short cuts in order to save time or money. Often at your expense.
How to tell if a dental office is being lax in fighting against germs? Does the dentist wear gloves? He should. When he puts the gloves on, does he pull them out of a glove dispenser? Or were they sitting on a surface before he put them on? What else does she or he touch once the gloves are on? The dentist should only be touching sterilized objects. Does he or she pick up things that were not disinfected? This is a sign that he or she is not being as careful as they should be.
Be up front and ask the dental office staff how they sterilize their instruments. And how often their sterilizer is checked to make sure it is working properly. A good dental office will be upfront and not take offense at such questions. A dental office to be wary of will want to fudge and dodge such questions.
- They are not keeping up with the times.
Does their machinery look outdated? And from what you can tell, doe their practices and methods seem to be from years ago? A dental practice that was good 10 years ago could slowly lose its quality rating. How? If the staff and head of the dental office do not make the effort to stay on top of the latest tech upgrades and research findings. Other signs of a dental office not staying on top of updating as needed include old sitting room furniture and old magazines. Why should this be a warning sign? It could point to a larger problem of letting “good enough” be the standard they follow, instead of striving for excellence.
How do you measure for this? Visit other dental offices in your area and ask after their methodology. Educate yourself on what current best practices are. Then compare that to the pediatric dental office that you are considering for your child.
Seem like too much work for choosing a dentist? Not if you are looking to establish a relationship that will last throughout your Little Junior’s childhood. And not if you consider that the care you put into this decision will likely affect your child’s oral hygiene habits. As well as how your children view going to the dentist in their adult years.