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.
Did you get to watch TV at the dentist as a kid? I got to read Highlights.
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!