Providing Compassionate Dental Care and Oral Health Education for Children
While many people give out sweet treats this month, February is also National Children’s Dental Health Month. It is important to treat your teeth right as well. Often times, the dentist can be a source of anxiety for children (and adults), but Dr. “Scott” Lawrence and Dr. Jen-Fan Weng of the Pediatric Dental Specialists hope to provide a positive experience for young patients.
“Our practice is different from the typical practice because are not as high-volume. We try to give time to the patients and their parents to give them enough time to answer questions and feel comfortable,” Dr. Scott says. “That is really our niche because people want the extra time. We have one open bay for treatments, and parents are welcome to come back and children are able to come back and roam around to see what we do.”
Dr. Scott does mostly comprehensive orthodontics for growing individuals, while Dr. Weng does restorative care for patients.
This approach works because children have a more positive experience when they can see other kids getting work done. The children that are frightened will be positively impacted when they see others their age having treatments and realize that it is not as scary as it may seem. Dr. Scott and Dr. Weng strive to make the entire office inviting and welcoming to all. No one should feel rushed out or ignored.
There is a focus in the month of February to educate children about the importance of dental health. In past years, Dr. Scott and Dr. Weng have had a tooth fairy visit local nursery schools to meet the children, and other preschools have come to field trips in the office. These visits help young children not to be afraid of dental hygiene and teach them that going to the dentist is a good thing.
“Preschoolers get to ride in the chair, learn about healthy foods, watch a video about oral hygiene,” Dr. Weng says. “The nice thing is that the little kids can see other patients being worked on and not be afraid when they come in.”
As members of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, both dentists emphasize to patients and parents that the recommendation is to see a dentist within six months of the first tooth popping out or around 1 year old. They do a complimentary visit at that age, and it gives them a dental home so that people know where to go. That first visit is educational. They educate both the kids and the parents about the basics and the dos and don’ts of dental hygiene.
When possible to be seen by a pediatric dentist it often creates a good experience. “The first experience with the dentist is crucial to develop a healthy relationship with the dentist and oral health. We like working with children and the whole atmosphere is inviting and welcoming to children, “ Dr. Weng says.
“We also have specialized training in growth in development of children and the psychology of working with children,” Dr. Scott says. “We spend this extra time learning how to work with children during our residency. We have special certification for sedation dentistry. Many pediatric dentists don’t offer sedation. We have special permits to do in-office sedation so that children don’t have to go to a hospital for procedures. We want to be different than other practices. We want to be the practice that people go to in order to feel comfortable. We want to establish a relationship with the whole family to gain that trust.”