Family & Pediatric Dentistry
Caring for you and your family is our No. 1 priority. Our highly skilled dentist and dental hygienists put your well-being first and go out of their way to help you feel at ease. With us, you and every member of your family receive compassionate and attentive care in a relaxing, welcoming environment. Whether you need a routine cleaning, crowns or implants, or veneers or teeth whitening, you and your smile are in excellent hands at Marion Smile Center.
At Marion Smile Center, we believe that creating a great first dental experience for children is the key to developing a lifelong happy and calm dental patient. Some children might learn to fear going to the dentist after hearing stories from their friends or seeing incorrect depictions on TV. Whatever the reason, soothing a child’s anxiety is necessary to successfully develop a healthy attitude toward dental care and for the clinician themselves to successfully perform dental procedures.
First Dental Visits Start at Age 2
The earlier your child begins getting dental check-ups and cleanings, the better. Dr. Marion recommends that a child have their first dental visit at age 2. These early appointments are important for making sure your child’s smile is healthy and their oral development is on track. Another big benefit is that going to the dentist while young allows children to be comfortable and develop a rapport with the practice, making future visits all the more pleasant.
Tell Your Child About Their First Dental Visit on Same Day as Appointment
When children (or adults, too!) do not know what to expect, their imaginations can get the best of them. That is why we do not recommend that parents tell their child about their first dental visit too far in advance. It can lead to anxiety. It is also not a good idea to completely surprise them either and just show up at the dental office without informing them ahead of time. We find that letting your child know the morning of their appointment is best.
Our Littlest Patients in our Fun Playroom
The best thing you can do to prepare your preschooler or older child for a trip to the dentist is to give them a general idea what to expect – emphasizing why it’s important to go to the dentist. Here are a few tips to consider.
You may not be aware of this, but you may inadvertently pass your dental anxiety onto your children. So, even if you are not a huge fan of the dentist, do not let it show in front of your children. Avoid talking to them about bad experiences or upcoming procedures you may have lined up.
Always chat about the dentist in positive terms. Build excitement and understanding. We recommend that parents start at home with watching a video or reading one of the many children’s books about your child’s first dental visit. We especially like Just Going to the Dentist by Mercer Mayer, Elmo Visits the Dentist by P.J. Shaw, and The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist by Stan Berenstain.
Children typically do best at their dental visits when they are scheduled at a time when they are typically in a good mood. Like adults, children do better when they are well-rested and fed. For example, scheduling a dental visit for after your child’s usual nap and mealtime tends to work well. We find that mornings are generally a good time for most children as they are alert and fresh. Late afternoon or evening appointments when a child may be tired or hungry are not typically the best times for them to have a dental visit.
For a child's very first dental visit, we recommend parents schedule a chair ride with us. Often, we coordinate a younger child’s chair ride with an older child’s or parent’s routine professional cleaning appointment. When you bring your child for their dental visits, take a deep breath, keep things upbeat, and try your best to appear happy.
This quick chair ride visit to our office starts with your child enjoying our reception area playroom. One of our assistants will join you in the reception area and bring back both the parent and child to sit in our dental treatment room patient chair.
For small children, we recommend that the parent sit in the patient chair first and have their child on their lap. Children 3 years of age and younger are not socially mature enough to separate from parents. At 4 years of age, most children should be able to sit in another room from parents for exams and procedures. One of our dental hygienists will show your child the dental equipment, blow air on the child’s hand, and gently see if we can “count their teeth.”
This first visit is an unfamiliar experience for most children. Dr. Marion will stop by to introduce himself to you and your child. He will let your child know how well your child is doing in this new situation. He typically tells them what a good job they are doing. This helps the child understand that things are going well.
Dr. Marion may give you information on:
- Baby bottle tooth decay
- Mouth cleaning and teeth brushing
- Pacifier habits
- Finger-sucking habits
Marion Smile Center’s littlest patients quickly learn that a visit to our office ends with picking a toy from our giveaway basket and being offered a balloon. With parents’ permission, we often take photographs of our newest patients, place them on our playroom magnetic board, message them to the parent, and/or post to social media.
We employ various techniques with children to make future visits successful. We have a bag of tricks that we use to ease young patients. We use methods like tell-show-do, which involves describing and demonstrating what we are going to do before we actually start any dental treatment.
If all else fails and a child needs to undergo a lengthy dental procedure, we offer conscious sedation. For children, we use nitrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas. Even adults get nervous about going to the dentist sometimes, so for that reason, we offer nitrous sedation to all our patients, no matter their age!
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Sealants are a thin, protective coating placed on the teeth that help protect against tooth decay. For children and adults, sealants can help optimize good oral habits including regular dental cleanings, as well as daily brushing and flossing.
Given the significant benefits of sealants and recent improvements in sealant materials, Marion Smile Center now recommends sealants to more patients than ever before – not just children and teens, but also for young adults, as well as cavity-prone adults of any age.
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Watch our video about sealants: