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How to Choose a Dentist for Your Child

choose a dentist for your child

You may think that professional dental care isn’t necessary for children who still have their baby teeth, but regular examinations and cleanings can help set your child up for a lifetime of excellent oral health. According to the American Dental Association, parents should take their child to see the dentist within 6 months of the eruption of the child’s first baby tooth and before the child reaches age one.

We often get the question, “My child has had bad dentist experiences in the past, but can you see my child?” Among our large staff of dentists/hygienists, some are exceptionally good with children, so we feel confident we can give your child a positive dental experience. If you have met our staff in the past, you can also select whoever you think works best with your child.

Choosing a highly trained dentist at Dansville Dental Professionals ensures your child will receive treatment from a professional who is experienced in the unique situations surrounding young teeth and gums. Keep in mind the following important considerations when selecting a dental office for you and your child.

1. Child-Friendly Atmosphere

Young patients need to feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible during their dental exam, so choose a dentist office that has a child-friendly atmosphere.

At DDP, we intentionally created our beautiful office to displace some of the fears traditionally associated with dentist offices, especially among children. From the warmth of the contrasting hues of color to the state-of-the-art facility, equipment, and techniques, all the details blend together harmoniously to create a relaxing atmosphere.

2. Conscious Sedation for Children

We typically don’t recommend using conscious sedation techniques for children except in severe cases. If children are treated properly in a trust-building, fun, non-threatening manner, they usually behave very well in the dentist chair. We have often seen children who have had bad experiences with other dentists successfully turn into great patients for us without sedation.

However, in some cases sedation is helpful. When they’re with their dentist or hygienist, children can have nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”), which is an extremely safe, quickly reversible, pleasant-feeling gas that relaxes the child, decreases pain awareness, and creates an amnesia effect (the child does not remember the visit). The child can also have medical anesthesiology with the anesthesiologist, which we have on staff at DDP.  

3. Preventive Dentistry

Your child needs a dentist who can explain “preventive dentistry” in age-appropriate language. This includes how to avoid serious dental issues such as cavities, gum disease, and tooth decay – but without alarming your child. Effective preventive care begins with brushing at least twice a day, flossing once a day, and rinsing with fluoride-free mouthwash. (Generally speaking, children shouldn’t use fluoride mouthwash until they are about six years old, with no tendency to swallow it.)

We offer professional preventive care options including regularly scheduled x-rays, teeth cleaning, dental exams, and fluoride treatments when appropriate. Our staff strives to make these treatments a positive experience, so there is a greater chance your child will avoid fear and anxiety about future dental appointments.

4. Restorative Treatments

Although preventive treatments can help keep teeth and gums healthy, sometimes accidents, trauma, and genetics lead to oral health issues. If your child has cavities, gingivitis, or other dental issues, we can develop a personalized care plan to address those problems effectively in a way that doesn’t alarm your child.

We compiled some common questions from patients concerning restorative treatments for children.

  • Braces

Sometimes braces are not recommended until all the adult teeth have grown in, but in other cases, it’s best to complete some early orthodontic treatment to address growth issues, jaw size, or tooth eruption. Always as an ask an orthodontist first.

  • Baby Teeth Removal

If your child’s adult teeth have grown in without pushing out all the baby teeth, you should take your child to see a dentist. She may have to have the remaining baby teeth removed.

  • Broken Tooth

Many kids, especially ages 8-15, break an adult tooth. The good news: it can usually be restored so that it looks good as new. Time is critical, so get to your dentist as soon as possible. (You don’t have to find the missing piece first.)

  • Loose Adult Tooth (or Knocked-Out Tooth)

If your child knocks an adult tooth so that it becomes loose or falls out completely, get to the dentist as quickly as possible. In most cases, the tooth can be restored if done soon enough. If you still have the tooth, place it beneath the child’s tongue to keep it warm and moist, or keep it in warm milk. Do not scrub the tooth! There is no need to visit the emergency room first.

  • Why Fix Baby Teeth

Some patients ask us why they need to fix problematic baby teeth if the child will grow adult teeth anyway. If the situation demands, we will fix baby teeth to prevent pain and infection; eliminate tooth decay; preserve the “space holder” for the adult tooth; and maintain the child’s appearance to promote self-esteem.

If you have more questions about dental care, visit our complete list of Q&As to learn more!

5. Personalized Care

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of proper dental care for children is a caring and supportive aura. Your child likely wants to get to know the dentist or hygienist who will be conducting her appointment and to feel as comfortable with them as possible. With several dental experts on staff as well as extended office hours, we have the ability to provide your child with her personal favorite hygienist or dentist.

Call Today for an Appointment

When children have a positive experience at the dentist office, they are more likely to continue excellent dental care practices throughout their lifetime. We are passionate about serving our patients and their families for generations to come. We do everything we can to make dental care for you and your child as straightforward as possible.

Contact us online or give us a call at 585-335-2201 to schedule an appointment for your child and propel them toward a lifetime of excellent oral health.