Why a Pediatric Dentist?

Has your child ever begged you not to leave the dental office?
Believe it or not, this happens tons of times at our office. Pediatric dentists love children and are specially trained to put them at ease. We teach your children the proper way to take care of their teeth; but just as important, we show them that that going to the dentist can be a fun and rewarding experience. Pediatric offices are decorated with children in mind and equipped with kid-friendly entertainment options and rewards. It also may be less intimidating for children to be surrounded by other kids in the office. Enjoyable visits to the dental office promote the establishment of trust and confidence in your child that will last a lifetime. Our goal is to help all children feel good about visiting the dentist while instilling good habits as well!

What is a Pediatric Dentist (Pedodontist)?
Children see pediatric dentists for dental care for the same reason they see a pediatrician for their medical care. A pediatric dentist is a doctor of dentistry who has two to three years of specialty training following the four years of dental school and limits their practice exclusively to the treatment of children, including those with special medical needs.Some of us went even further in our studies, to become Diplomates with The American Board of Pediatric Dentistry to become proficient in our field. Like a pediatrician is your primary provider of childhood medical care, we are the primary oral health providers for your infant, child, or adolescent. We understand and are experienced in dealing with the unique dental issues and concerns that go along with each stage of childhood. We focus on prevention, early detection and treatment of dental diseases, as well as dental growth and development.

What should I tell my child about the first dental visit?
This is one of our most commonly asked questions. First of all, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends children start seeing a dentist as early as age one! We suggest you prepare your child the same way that you would before their first haircut or trip to the shoe store. The first visit to the dentist is the most important in your child’s life so we need your help. We ask that you help to make this visit enjoyable by reinforcing our role as a “tooth doctor” who works to keep teeth healthy and happy. Be relaxed and at ease with your child. They will sense any anxiety on your part. Tell your child that we will “brush,” “count” and “take pictures” of their teeth and then talk afterwards about it. Don’t overdo it! It is best if you refrain from using words around your child that might cause unnecessary fear, such as “needle,” “shot,” “pull,” “drill,” or “hurt.” In our office, we use words that convey the same message, but are pleasant and non-frightening to your child. We are specially trained to handle children and describe their dental experience in a fun and imaginative way. Have fun reading books about dentistry with your child and encourage play behaviors that mimic a dental visit with your child being the dentist and then the patient. Talk about how the dentist will help keep your child’s teeth healthy and how they care about children. Your child’s reaction to their first visit to the dentist may surprise you in a positive way!

DR. ANGELA AUSTIN is a Board Certified Pediatric Dentist in Alexandria, VA. She specializes in treating patients aged 1-21. She is also specially trained to treat special needs patients as well as patients with high dental anxiety. She is the owner of Alexandria Children’s Dentistry located at 6303 Little River Turnpike, Suite 345, Alexandria, VA 22312. www.LoveKidsTeeth.com Phone: 703-942-8404