Decatur, AL Pediatric Dentist
A pediatric dentist is a licensed specialist who has spent an extra two years after dental school in specialty training and then sees only children. While Drs. Drake and Wallace are not pediatric dentistry specialists, they, like all dentists, received substantial training in pediatric dentistry in dental school, and are equipped to handle all of the basic needs of your children. Besides that, they truly enjoy seeing the children and helping them establish healthy dental attitudes and habits. And they offer you the convenience of taking your whole family to the same dental office. Besides being convenient, this helps a lot with important communication matters. If they feel that your child needs the services of a specialist, they will tell you that and refer you to a licensed pediatric dentist.
When Should My Child Have Their First Pediatric Dental Visit?
We call their first visit a “happy visit,” and we recommend starting that at age three.
We work hard to make sure your child is comfortable during this visit and has a positive experience. If we can, we like to have them watch you or a sibling get their teeth checked, to help ease them into the idea. We’ll take them for a ride in the dental chair and one of our friendly hygienists will count and clean their teeth. Older children may need x-rays. Once that is completed, Dr. Drake or Dr. Wallace will do a check up and go over any areas of concern.
Our philosophy is that we want their dental experience to be happy and stress-free so that they will look forward to returning. We don’t want to force anything. We want to establish a lifetime of good dental habits.
Helpful Hints for Parents
Be careful about over-preparing your child for their dental visit. Sometimes parents have a lot of anxiety about how their children will react to dental care so they go to great lengths to try to prepare them. These efforts frequently backfire because the children sense your anxiety and then become anxious themselves. We see the best results when parents treat the visit as no big deal.
One of the worst things you can do in cultivating dental attitudes in your children is to wait until they have a problem before they see a dentist. This starts them off with what can be a stressful appointment and a high-anxiety situation that could potentially scar them for years.
We encourage you to start cleaning your child’s teeth as soon as they erupt. You can use a soft cloth at first, graduating to a toothbrush when the back teeth start coming in. Then gradually have them take over the responsibility until they are able to clean them effectively themselves. Whatever you do, don’t try to get them to comply with oral hygiene by threatening them with needing dental work. This can potentially cause serious problems if they later end up needing work.
Flossing will be needed once the back teeth come in. Again, you will probably need to do this for them until they have enough dexterity to handle this themselves, maybe around age 10.
We like to apply sealants to the chewing surfaces of the six- and twelve-year molars as soon as they erupt. These are very effective at preventing decay, in addition to fluoride treatments.
If your child is ready for their first check up or you’re looking for a dental practice for your whole family, we’d welcome the opportunity to work with you. Just give us a call, or you may fill out our request an appointment form and we will call you.