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Wanted: Dentist Who Makes Kids Smile

A pediatric dentist. Before you had kids, you likely didn't know or consider there was such a thing. Teeth are teeth and a dentist is a dentist, right? Well yes, to some extent, but now that your children are old enough for regular dental checkups, you shouldn't just assume any dentist will be an appropriate pediatric dentist for your kids. Many dentists are equipped to do dental work for the whole family, some specialize in pediatric dentistry, but before you start calendaring your kids' dental appointments, make sure you've found a dentist who works well with children.

A pediatric dentist is a dentist who specializes in working with children. If your kids don't have out-of-the-ordinary dental problems (the occasional cavity, etc.), you may not need a dentist who is specifically a pediatric dentist. But you will still want to find a dentist, pediatric or otherwise, who is comfortable with kids and whom kids are comfortable with. Any parent of a child or children who have ever been anxious - from the slightly nervous to the extremely terrified - about going to the dentist can tell you having a dentist who is good with children is an absolute must for your kids, even if it means scheduling separate dental appointments with a pediatric dentist.

If you don't need an explicit pediatric dentist and are planning on or considering using your own dentist for your children's dental work, it's a good idea to take your child or children to your own dental appointment before scheduling one for the kids. That way, young children have a chance to see a dentist in action and get a feel for the dentists office and the dental chair, equipment, and so forth. It will also give you a chance to see your non-pediatric dentist with children, specifically your children. Is he or she comfortable around kids? Does he or she act friendly toward your kids? Do your children respond well to the dentist? It may not seem important, but even a pediatric dentist doesn't have much chance of success if they can't get the kids to open their mouth in the first place. And if a visit to the dentist triggers kicking and screaming from your kids, it won't be any picnic for you, either.

A pediatric dentist will generally do a lot to make sure kids are comfortable, but even some dentists who aren't specifically a pediatric dentist will let your kids sit in the dental chair while it goes up and down and take a cursory look at their teeth. If your dentist offers to do a pretend exam for your young kids, take him up on it. If the dentist doesn't offer, ask if they'll give the kids a quick trial run at the end of your dental appointment. This gives your kids positive exposure to the dentist and gives you an even better opportunity to observe your dentist interacting with kids. If you find the regular or pediatric dentist unsatisfactory with your children, or if your kids need more involved dental work, search your local listings for a pediatric dentist in your area.

by: Justin Beightol
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Wanted: Dentist Who Makes Kids Smile Washington