I have a 15-year-old who still goes to a pediatric dentist. He seems content there but I read online that when they hit their teen years you are supposed to transition them to an adult dentist. Do we have to do that right now if he’s happy there? Also, if we do, does the pediatric dentist recommend a general dentist for you or do you just start trying dentists?
While it varies from practice to practice, most pediatric dentists will let a child stay through 18 years of age. If they’ve been there most of their lifetime, they’ll even let them go a little further while they find a general practitioner they love.
While there is no hard and fast age, you should be able to tell when your son is ready to switch. At some point he may indicate that it feels childish there. Others are quite content staying until they’re 18. It really depends on both the practice and the patient.
They grow up so quickly, there really isn’t any reason to rush him. That’s especially true if he’s happy there. These type of positive experiences will help him with a lifetime of good oral hygiene with regular dental visits.
General Dentists Who Treat Children
You mentioned needing the pediatric dentist to recommend a general dentist to you. Does this mean you don’t have a dentist for yourself? If that’s so you may want to ask for that recommendation now and get started at the practice yourself.
It’s usually helpful to get a general dentist who also treats children in case your son expresses a desire to switch. These dentists are usually more patient than most and will be a good “first experience” for your son in an adult practice.
is it possible the reason you don’t see a dentist regularly is because you have some dental anxiety? If so, don’t feel bad. There are a lot of adults who avoid the dentist. However, it will be easier for your son if you’re established at the practice too. It also gives the dentist an idea of the dental genetics of your family so he can be proactive in treatments.
Dealing with Dental Anxiety
Not may people can just will anxiety away. I often suggest that anxious patients see a sedation dentist to get comfortable with dental work. Most sedation dentists offer two different levels of sedation, depending on your level of anxiety.
The right level for you will allow you to have a pain-free/anxiety-free dental appointment. Because you’re so relaxed, you can get more work done each sitting, allowing you to get caught up on any necessary work quickly.
This blog is brought to you by Lexington, KY Dentist Dr. John Weaver.