The day is quickly coming for your child’s first dentist visit. You know what you want in a dentist, but now that you need to find a dental office for your child, you have a whole different set of criteria to consider. You’ve never been afraid of the dentist—but will your child be? How can you ease them into the visit to ensure a positive experience?
The good news is there are great pediatric dentists out there who are well-trained and experienced in working with children. These dentists know how to reach kids and create a friendly space that makes them feel comfortable.
Here are six things you should look for in a dental office to know they are child-friendly.
1. Toys in the Waiting Room
This one’s kind of a no-brainer, but it needs to be said: kids love toys! If there isn’t a box brimming with toys in the waiting room, you should turn around and walk out the door. It’s an easy way to put kids at ease before their appointments.
Plus, the cooler the toys, the more excited a child will be to return next time.
2. Bright, Colourful Decorations
When you first step into a new dental office and look around for that toy box, take the time to note the decor. If the room is a series of drab beige on beige, it likely means they haven’t put a lot of thought into how to make a space fun for kids.
Bright colours and fun pictures will invigorate anyone, especially children. This can include fun pictures on the ceiling over the chair, too.
3. Making Introductions to Children
Another good sign is an office where the employees introduce themselves to parents first, immediately followed by the children, too. This shows children that employees care about their need and respect them, as well. A great strategy is for frontline employees to ask the kids questions about their likes and hobbies, so the dentist can ask specific questions about those topics once the child is in the chair in order to build rapport.
4. ABT: Always Be Teaching
Good pediatric dentists will spend a lot of time during the procedure explaining each treatment, as well as all the tools they’ll be using.
They’ll let children ask all the questions they need and offer educational value during the check-up.
5. Child-Sized Equipment
It’s a small thing but it makes a big difference. Kids have smaller mouths than adults, so having a series of tools that fit more comfortably in a kid’s mouth can mean the difference between a positive and negative dental experience.
Children often won’t be able to connect discomfort to a specific element, such as too-big tools stretching their mouth and will instead lay the blame on the entire experience (i.e. “going to the dentist”). A pediatric dentist office is trained in child psychology and development and will understand the benefit of these small touches.
6. A Prize Box
Everyone loves a prize. It’s another simple win, but an effective one. If your child gets to walk out with a new toy, they will have positive associations with the dentist—that you can leverage for next time, too. Knowing a prize comes at the end of the treatment can make dental visits more exciting for children.
These are all simple things to look for in a pediatric dentist office that can mean a world of difference to your child and your family’s oral health.