Pediatric or Children’s Dentistry

This section is not an attempt to answer every question about treating children, but rather to provide some general information about pediatric dental health, and how children are treated in our office.

Q:  Is Dr. Kurian a Pediatric Dentist?
A:  No.  Dr. Kurian treats many children, but she is not a specialist.  A pedodontist is a dentist who graduated from dental school, and then continued his or her training to specialize with children.  On occasion, Dr. Kurian may need to refer a child to a pedodontist. These children may have specific dental needs that cannot be met in a general practice, and require the attention of a specialist.

Q:  Should I take my child to your office or to a pediatric office? 
A:  Our office.  Most children can be treated in a general office.  If the attention of a specialist is required, we will let you know.

Q:  How old should my child be for their first visit?
A:  There is no straight answer to this question.  The pediatric associations advise the first visit to be at one year of age.  Dr. Kurian prefers 3 years old, as do many general practitioners.  At three, the child can interact with the team, all the primary teeth are in the mouth, and we can identify problems early on.  However, please note that teeth have been present in the mouth already for 2-1/2 years, and decay can definitely occur.  If you wish to have your child examined at age one, please, by all means, call us!

Q:  What should I do to prepare my child for their first visit?
A:  Nothing.  Just tell your child, “We are going to the dentist today,” and be excited about it!  If you have had a negative experience yourself at the dentist, don’t share it with your child.  With advances like fluoride and air abrasion, your child’s experience will most likely be different from yours!  There is no need to tell your child that “it may hurt a little.”  Not only is that not true, but you’re scaring your child!  Let us do all the work!

Q:  Can I be in the room during the appointment?
A:  We would never say no to this question, but think about how stressful you will make things for your child.  If you’re in the room, you’re child is going to be responding to you, not to the dental team.  This will make the appointment longer.  Also, children usually act uncooperatively when parents are present, not the other way around!  When parents want to be present, we find the best results are obtained when parents stand quietly outside of the room, behind the patient.  Constant interruptions from parents are very detrimental:  Even small comments like, “You’re doing great!” are damaging.  By standing quietly outside the door, you still get to observe, and your child will have a great experience!

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