FAQs & Philosophical Starting Points
Kids need a kids’ dentist. Your child’s visit to our office will be very different than a visit to a family or general dentist on several levels. Children are not simply “little adults” in their stages of development, and neither are their teeth. Because they are growing, what is looked at and how they are potentially treated is vastly different than adults. That’s why pediatric dentistry is a dental specialty with its own schooling and residency programs, just like the medical specialty of pediatricians.
Because children respond and learn differently than adults, we strive to put children at ease by creating a fun environment and teaching in ways that cater to them. You won’t find soft sculpture and video games at a general dentist, and you won’t find our mix of casual, fun instructions there either. We mix fun and joking around with a blend of the familiar to catch kids at their best, when they are able to learn by example and modeling. Just like a child’s classroom is filled with bright materials and the teacher establishes a “feel” for the classroom, we borrow that psychology to teach our patients how to take care of themselves.
We also have a method of gaining patient trust and cooperation. Unlike our colleagues in the medical field, we have not given up on teaching children during their appointments. We talk about how they can take care of themselves and how to conduct themselves in a healthcare setting. While it may seem strange to leave your child with a physician or nurse, we don’t use that model of care because it is ineffective for teaching children. Instead, we use the model of the classroom, where children are grouped with other children in a large treatment room so they can learn by example and modeling. Our staff is extensively trained on child development. We communicate to a child on their level with age-appropriate language that requires a one-on-one approach. Parents team with us in this endeavor just as they do in school. At Big Grins, parents get reports and conferences, and they make all the decisions about treatment and then they leave the teaching of dentistry to us. Parents do the hugging, we do the teaching, and the children do the learning. They learn that a visit to a dental office can be a fun, casual event where adults care for them.
In times of emergency, when consultation chair-side is necessary, parents are always involved and back in the clinic. This philosophy is based on trust. Trust of the parents and child builds a foundation of a long-term relationship, which in turn makes for outstanding children’s dentistry in Fort Collins, Colorado!
Top Five Misconceptions About Dentistry For Kids
- All dentists are the same. False. Training, education, and interests vary widely among dentists. Just as in the medical field, specialties define what dentists are trained to do. The specialty for children and adolescents is pediatric dentistry. Dr. Greg Evans is a board-certified pediatric dentist with hundreds of extra hours of education and experience specific to a child’s social and physical development. He is very fast and smooth with treatment, and he makes dentistry look easy and casual to kids. Your kid deserves a kids’ dentist!
- Baby teeth aren’t important. Not so! Primary teeth are there for a reason. They need to be cared for and maintained for good dental health. Baby teeth hold space for the later permanent teeth, so problems with baby teeth often result in problems for permanent teeth. In fact, the very best predictor of cavities in permanent teeth is a cavity history in baby teeth! Primary teeth also play a role in nutrition, speech, and social interaction. They also have nerves, which means that toothaches in baby teeth hurt just as much as those in adult teeth!
- Early braces are a waste of time. Maybe. Dr. Greg is an expert in childhood craniofacial growth. Careful evaluation of growth, both skeletal and dental, is vital to determining if early braces (limited braces for children ages 7-9) will prevent crowding and growth problems that, if treated later, would result in compromised function or appearance. However, only 15 percent of children have crowding in baby teeth.
- Shots and drills have to hurt. No way! Many parents are sure there is no way to avoid pain at the dentist, and the child picks up on this feeling. However, we use a lot of local anesthesia (shots), the kids don’t know it. Dr. Greg is a master at performing fillings, crowns, and extractions, so the child is never aware of the “s” word. Our kid-friendly environment, language cues, knowledgeable use of nitrous oxide (laughing gas), and time-tested confidence in our techniques make a big difference in creating a positive dental experience for kids. Just ask them!
- No one likes going to the dentist. Absolutely false! Did you know that we regularly have requests from parents to have birthday parties here in our office on the weekends? With all the games, toddler play area, photos of kids, and bright colors, the kids who come here think they own the place! It’s all designed for them to have fun! Some parents have even commented that their kids cry when they have to LEAVE. With a relaxing, quiet waiting area for parents off from the play area, you may not be in a big hurry to leave either!