Choosing a dental practice for yourself can be a difficult task, but this is even more so when it comes to selecting a practice for your child. It’s important to pick the right dentist and practice for your child as this is a building block to ensuring they have consistently good oral health as they grow old. But, as a parent, how do you know what to look out for in your child’s potential dental practice?
As the Practice Manager of both an NHS and a private dental practice, and a consultant at numerous practices across the country, I’ve seen the stark differences between practices and how they can affect the health of you and your child. Below, I’ve listed some key things to consider when choosing a practice for your children.
The most important thing for any patient, but particularly young children, is not just clinical care but also how you are treated as a patient. Being made to feel welcome by every member of the team is what keeps a patient, whether adult or child, coming back. If your child doesn’t feel welcome, that experience will stay with them and they’ll be less likely to visit again as an adult, creating a pattern of poor oral health for years to come.
You can see how good a practice’s patient care is by looking at their reviews, either on Facebook, Google or otherwise. If other patients are saying how welcomed they felt and the reviews in general are positive, you can be confident that the practice is good for your child. Don’t be afraid to ask around for recommendations from your friends and family either.
Quality of treatment
It goes without saying that, no matter how well you are looked after at a practice, if the quality of the treatment isn’t up to a high standard you shouldn’t be taking your child there. Young children may often need braces, as this is the best time in their life to have them, and the difference between low-quality and high-quality orthodontic work is as clear as night and day.
Most dental practices will have case studies on their website and are eager to show off the work that they do. Look for these when selecting a practice, and if you can’t find any, ask!
A focus on children
Some practices aren’t tailored towards working with children, and that’s okay. Particularly in private dentistry, it is their prerogative who they wish to attract to their practice. With that being said, finding somewhere that has made a concerted effort to make their practice more welcome to children would be a perfect fit for your requirements.
We have seen practices with posters and games aimed at children, some on the ceiling of the surgery so that the children have something to do while receiving treatment! Here at Town Hall Dental, for example, we have started the Make Brushing Fun campaign, focused on different ways to raise awareness of oral hygiene in children to ensure that they enjoy keeping their teeth clean and visiting the dentist.
Finally, and underlining everything that we’ve talked about, is the atmosphere of the practice. How does the practice look on the inside? Are the staff welcoming? Is the practice a nice place to be? Does it feel like the kind of place you’d be happy to come back to over many years? Can you envisage building a relationship with the dentist and their team? If it isn’t up to the standards you expect, then it certainly isn’t up to what your child deserves. Don’t be afraid to have high standards, or take your children elsewhere if it doesn’t feel like the kind of place where they’re welcome.