Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Metro Dentalcare Children's Dentistry

A few weeks ago I was invited to tour the Children's Dentistry Office of Metro Dentalcare down in Burnsville. The concept of being asked to do things simply because I have a blog is new to me and I jumped at the opportunity.  Plus, rather selfishly, I realized I had no idea what sort of dental care baby goat might need in the future.  My idea of him and his teeth was teething = sucks, teeth = brush?

I mean I knew we needed to establish good habits of dental care but I really didn't know where to start.  So it seemed fortuitous to be invited to tour a children's dental office.   Honestly, I didn't even realize that they HAD special offices for children.  I'd grown up going to a regular family dentist and most people I know did too.  From the moment I walked in however I could tell that there might be something to this children's dentistry approach.
The play castle in the waiting room
Plenty of fish in the waiting room, including Dora and Nemo look alikes:

I was a bit early so I had a chance to sit an observe for a moment before meeting with Jana who showed me around.  It was spring break and there were lots of kids around and all of them were...happy.  They were at ease and the staff was pleasant and clearly knew how to work with kids.  Coming from a field where I work and teach children it made me glad to see.

Jana came and gave me a tour of the facility and answered my questions along the way.  Each room was decked out in a theme with a tv over the chair and the TVs only carried age appropriate shows.  The colors were bright and the place was clean and modern.  I sort of wished that they could be MY dentist.

The under the sea room.
And boy did I learn a lot.  It turns out that Children's Dentistry is a lot like Pediatrics.  A general practictioner does the job well, but the specialized care really allows for a more specialized and focused care.  Children's Dentistry, for example, encourages babies to be seen when they are 12 months old (or when their first tooth arrives) rather than 2-3 years old like general dentists.  This is a quick visit, and they confessed, more about teaching the parents how to care for their baby's teeth than and actual tooth inspection.

Did you get to watch TV at the dentist as a kid?  I got to read Highlights.
I learned that instances of cavities in kids is on the rise, particularly in baby teeth.  Certainly sodas, juices and chocolate milk takes some of the blame, but the worst culprits I learned were gummy, chewy candies.  They get in all the crevices and just stick there eating away at enamel.    But there were ways around it.  There is a way to seal teeth now that can be done to save teeth from the sugar attacks.  This was another benefit they described in Children's Dentistry - the ability to do certain techniques, such as sealants on baby teeth and smaller mouths.  Apparently done wrong it can actually lead to pockets that can increase decay but at Metro Dentalcare they have learned to do it right.

Pink Dentist chair in the puppy room

I asked a lot of questions about everything from pain medication (nitrous oxide is easier on kids) to questions about teething and the order teeth typically appear (the eye teeth are ususally last).  I learned about when kids typically lose their teeth (6-8 yrs old usually), tricks to encourage brushing (I was sent home with a cool brushing chart), when to let kids start brushing their own teeth (around 5 depending on the child's independence), and how long to brush (they have a handy sand timer to help!).  I learned a lot, but the most important thing that I learned was that people who go into Children's Dentistry specifically really love kids and are great with them.

The Dentist, Deanna Alevizos, snuck out between kids to meet with me and it became apparent to me that she not only believed that she had a vocation to work with kids, but that she was passionate about creating a safe, fun and prevention oriented dental practice for kids.  She confessed that even when she had been a general dentist she's wanted to open a Children's Dentistry instead even though it required her to obtain another degree (in Pediatric Dentistry).  She even goes and treats very intensive kids cases in the hospital one day a week.

Jana - the Dental hygienist, practice supervisor and tourguide extrodinaire and Dr. Alevizos

I was surprised how much I enjoyed visiting a dentist's office but it was fun.  In the end I left feeling like the kids at Metro Dentalcare Children's Dentistry are in very good hands and I hope that baby goat will be able to benefit from them too.  (Still need to check that insurance card).

I was among like minded folks there - people who thought children needed respect, fun, teaching and a safe environment to thrive so I left feeling good.  Of course I knew I was with like minded people too when Jana was unable to point out the nitrous oxide door without giggling.  I giggled too...

Thanks to the Burnsville Metro Dentalcare Children's Dentistry and Arik Hanson for arranging my tour.  I had a lot of fun.  If you want to know more about Metro Dentalcare or Children's Dentistry please visit their websites which have a lot of great information.  Also, consider a visit to my friend Missy's blog as she also had an opportunity to visit and blog about one of Metro Dentalcare's many locations.

I was not paid to write this by the way.  These are simply my observations and opinions and my only "payment" was a chance to ask all my neurotic new mom questions and get a handle on this whole "my baby has teeth now what?" thing.  Thanks!


Anti-Supermom said...

Liz, great post! There aren't enough pediatric dentists out there, period. It's great to see a clinic specifically for just that.

fritzfacts said...

I love taking Boo to the dentist, even though we see a general dentist he is one that the children all seem to flock too. They do such a great job.

I am glad you had the chance to do this! Learning something new is so wonderful, especially when it can help our kids.

The Marketing Mama said...

I really enjoyed your post, Liz. I wish I lived closer to this clinic. I like going to pediatric specialists whenever I can because I know they do an extra-special good job at making children feel comfortable.

Funny how every fish tank at doctor's offices have Nemo and Dory. :) Kids LOVE that!

Recovering Procrastinator said...

Our dentist isn't a pediatric specialist but they also have things that cater to kids and make it fun for them, like a toy box and the TVs in each room. And they just have a generally good bedside manner with them, unlike the first dentist we tried in town. I'm a big proponent of switching if you aren't happy with how you are treated.

Kathy said...

Indeed, kids really hate going to the dentists, and for them not to get scared, dentists make their clinics loved by kids by decorating a kid-friendly atmosphered clinic. In my hometown in Jackson, TN, dentist of my daughter gives her freebies so that she won't get scared of going to the dentist again. Jackson, TN dentists have great services that will make kids, and even us adults go back to them again for another appointment.

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Redmond Family Dentist said...

Hi all,

This is really interesting take on the concept. Children’s dentistry is a completely safe technique and will help your child to achieve and maintain dental health. Thanks a lot.

Geoff Granfield said...

I can't thank you enough for sharing those wonderful pictures! That is something we at Dentist chancellor park can mimic. Great job! Cheers!

Hildegard Malone said...

My son will never be afraid to visit this clinic. The room looks so child-friendly. This will be a good design to all the clinics so that children will be afraid to have their teeth checked.

Behnam Aghabeigi said...

Young Living has some good dental products. I hope your daughter will like them better.

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Victoria Elizabeth said...

Thanks for the post! I have been looking into a good pediatric dentist in Des Moines IA for my kids. I want my little kiddos to be comfortable going to the dentist, as it will be a regular habit at our house. I appreciate the thoughts, thanks again!

Earl Finnegan said...

My dentist in Des Moines also has an aquarium in his offices. I wonder what started that trend.

Kapil Das said...

I totally agree with your post. It is essential to maintain your child's dental health to avoid dental problems in future. I always make sure to take my kid for regular dental check-ups at our dentist and make sure to get complete oral care. I have been visiting this dental clinic since many years and they have by far best dentist in mumbai.

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