Can a Trip to the Dentist Be Fun?

A case for pediatric dentists

If the thought of taking your terrified toddler or wiggly grade-schooler to the dentist makes you want to … well, bite something, you may want to consider a pediatric dentist. Not only do these children’s specialists have special training, equipment and procedures designed especially for children, but also their non-stuffy approach and kid-friendly atmosphere are the perfect icebreakers for your nervous Nellie.

“A pediatric dentist’s office is quite different from the adult dental office,” explains Dr. Jeffrey Holt of Kids Dental in Plano. “Children enjoy kid-friendly diversions such as SuperSlide Playscapes, trendy music, colorful dental chairs equipped with DVD movies … Even our verbiage is kid-friendly: We use words like ‘sparkle’ or ‘bubble’ instead of ‘shot,’ ‘tooth whistle’ rather than ‘drill,’ ‘tooth paint’ not ‘filling.’ We find that tell/show/do is a great way to communicate to children even the most complicated of dental procedures.”

It’s not all smoke and mirrors. “Kids are not little adults,” Holt adds. “They have very age-specific issues that pediatric dentists train two to three additional years (after the required four years of dental school) to treat.” Kid-sized chairs and implements, plus products in flavors like bubble gum and grape, help kids feel more comfortable with the inevitable business at hand.

Learn more or find a pediatric dentist at the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, www.aapd.org.