Hello. I need some advice on a family dentist. I have 4 children. The youngest, Evan, is 11 years old and he has Down syndrome. When we lived in AZ we had a wonderful family dentist who was great with children. Since living in CA, we’ve had to switch dentists twice because the dentists so far have seemed inadequate and uncomfortable in treating Evan. Our family has serious time limitations so we prefer a family dentist to a pediatric dentist so that I can schedule my appointment along with the kids. Our most recent family dentist yelled at Evan. The dentist said Evan was not cooperative, which is really surprising to me because he is the mildest of all of my children. The dentist said that Evan wouldn’t open his mouth for the examination. I wasn’t there to witness it, because this office told me that they prefer that I not accompany my child in the treatment room. It was my mistake to not insist on being there with Evan. It was clear to me that something had upset my son. Evan can communicate well, so he told me that he felt scared at the office and didn’t want the dentist to put the tools in his mouth. So now here I am again trying to find a new family dentist. This is becoming frustrating. I want to be able to find a dentist that our family can stick with. Do you have any recommendations on how I can do this or what I should look for? Thanks. DE
DE- Evan’s traumatic experience sounds like your family dentist doesn’t work much with children who have Down syndrome. It’s understandable that you want to find a new dentist for your family.
Before you choose a new dentist, ask family or friends for recommendations on a family dentist. Also do an online search for family dentists. Call the offices and ask if the dentist has experience with children who have Down syndrome, or children who have special needs.
Schedule consultations with two or three family dentists and take Evan with you. Allow him to see the office and meet the staff, including the dentist. Pay attention to how the staff and dentist react to Evan, as well as whether or not Evan is comfortable there. This can help you determine if this dentist might be able to provide the care your son needs. If you can’t find a general dentist with the experience needed, you might have to switch to a pediatric dentist.
After you switch to a new dentist, if Evan is still experiencing anxiety, consider sedation dentistry. But don’t agree to it before speaking with Evan’s primary care physician about your concerns. The primary care doctor and the family dentist can work together to ensure Evan is comfortable and maintains good oral health.
This post is sponsored by the San Jose dentists of Hillsdale Dental Care.