7 Tips for Running a Successful Pediatric Dental Practice


Considering building your own pediatric dental office? Want to know what it takes for pediatric dental practice success? When children and families are your primary patients, you need to provide a welcoming atmosphere, expert knowledge, parent education, and make children feel safe and heard.

To secure dental practice success, take a look at the following tips and ideas.

What is Pediatric Dentistry?

Dentistry ranks in the top 10 most trusted and ethical professions in the United States. What separates general dentistry from pediatric dentistry?

A pediatric dentist is a dentist that has received specialized training to adapt techniques and procedures from general dentistry and specialties to provide comprehensive oral health care for children. In order to be a pediatric dentist, you must have successfully completed four years of dental school plus two additional years of residency and training. During residency, dentists are equipped with the skills necessary to provide primary and therapeutic oral health care for infants, children, teens, and children with special needs.

What does a pediatric office need to do for dental practice success? The primary thing that creates pediatric dental practice success is making patients feel as safe and comfortable as possible. Dental anxiety is common in children, and many adults, but it is crucial to develop good oral health practices early in life. Because pediatric dentists are experts in providing care that makes their patients feel safe and comfortable, children can feel empowered to overcome dental anxiety and set themselves up for a lifetime of good oral health habits.

In addition to providing services for young patients, pediatric dentists work closely with parents to educate them about the unique oral health needs of their children. Through both general advice and recommendations tailored to each individual patient, pediatric dental practice success is achieved. Not only does educating parents and patients help them to feel confident in their abilities, but with the support from a professional and parents at home, children are equipped with the support, knowledge, and skills needed to take care of their teeth and oral hygiene for life.

Create a User-Friendly Website

As with everything else consumers look for, many people looking for a new dental practice will hit the internet and do a search for a local dental practice in their area. If you want to guarantee dental practice success, having an eye-catching and user-friendly website is of the utmost importance for attracting and retaining customers.

What are users looking for in a website? No matter what type of site they visit, the most important thing for a user is to be able to quickly and conveniently locate the information they need. There have been numerous studies to gauge the habits of internet users and the average time a person spends on a site before leaving is around 10 to 20 seconds. That is all the time you have to catch their attention. Websites with a clear value proposition are more likely to retain readers than poorly designed or difficult-to-navigate websites.

When designing your site, consider what information you would want to have if you were looking for a new dental practice. Things like location, hours of operation, staff bios, insurances accepted, and services offered are all items that you need on your site. Additional information like blogs and posts on good oral health for children is also a great way to educate current and future clients and help you to secure dental practice success.

Decorate an Inviting Waiting Room

For dental practice success, your pediatric clinic needs to help children feel safe and comfortable before, during, and after treatment. You can achieve this in part by creating a warm and inviting waiting room. Low, warm lighting is ideal for a family dental clinic, as it gives the most “homey” atmosphere and is the opposite of bright, sterile lighting typically associated with health care offices.

If you like displaying art, consider creating a wall just for the artwork produced by your pediatric patients. Kids will love to see their masterpiece hanging in the waiting room, and it can be a way to get them excited about coming to the dentist rather than dreading it.

Comfortable seating is also a must for an inviting waiting room. A family dental clinic could use cushioned armchairs or loveseats as seating for the waiting room. Personal touches are another way to give your waiting room character, make it feel more like home, and help with dental practice success. Just make sure that the decor pieces you choose are safe for children.

In addition to providing comfortable seating for parents, make sure you have kid-sized furniture, as well. Kids love feeling important, and providing them with their very own places to sit can be a way to communicate that they are valued at your office.

An inviting waiting room goes beyond comfy chairs and brightly colored art. For true dental practice success, you need to ensure that staff is greeting every patient and their family as they enter the building. You might want to offer refreshments like bottled water or coffee and tea as a way to help people relax and feel more at ease before their appointment.

Arrange Activities for Adults and Children in the Waiting Room

Waiting rooms can be a place where anxiety runs wild, so providing your patients with distractions can be helpful. For dental practice success, a family dental practice should accommodate both adults and children. Teeth whitening may be a service you offer to only adults, but you can appeal to both children and adults in your waiting room. Magazines for both children and adults are always a great idea for the waiting room, but when you have a pediatric practice, you might want to go a step further and provide children’s books that parents can read with their children.

If you have the space in your waiting room, you could set up a play area with different sensory experiences for kids. Because pediatric dentists treat children from infancy to teen years, you want to make sure that you have activities and supplies that cater to every age group. Young children might love a train set or dinosaurs, while older patients might enjoy putting a puzzle together with their parents as they wait. For offices with televisions, consider putting on educational cartoons or movies as a way to distract children and keep them calm and happy.

Ensure Children Feel Safe and Heard During Treatment

One of the things that make adults and children alike hesitant about professional dental care is fear of the unknown. For dental practice success, it is always important to explain what you are doing during dental services and why you are doing it. Preparing the patient and telling them what to expect can go a long way in reducing anxiety. A root canal may not seem so scary once they have information about the actual process.

As you talk to your patients, both children and adults, take the time to ask them if they have any questions or concerns. You want your patients to know that you care not only about their oral health but for them as a person. They must know you prioritize their positive experience during treatment. When explaining the procedure to your patient, make sure to let them know that they are in control. One way to combat dental anxiety during treatment is to agree on a stop signal beforehand, as the patient will not be able to verbally communicate once treatment has started. For instance, tell your patient that they can raise their hand in the event that they need to take a break or something begins to hurt. Just allowing the patient to feel in control can go a long way in alleviating anxiety and contributing to your pediatric dental practice success.

Gift Patients Fun Dental Bag Goodies

What kid doesn’t love getting gift bags and presents? Providing your patients with fun surprises at the end of their dental services can be another way to help kids get excited about future visits. Most dental offices provide a new toothbrush, floss, and toothpaste to patients as they leave, but if you are specifically building a pediatric practice, you can get a bit more creative with what you give to your patients at the end of their visit.

Doctors used to give candy to kids before they went home, but obviously, you do not want to supply your patients with sugar-laden confections that are not ideal for good oral health. There are a number of sugar-free candies available, but candy is far from the only thing kids love.

Find some dental themed coloring pages and tuck a few in with a small box of crayons for a fun takeaway that kids can enjoy. As mentioned earlier, you can even encourage your patients to bring the coloring pages back to their next visit so you can display their artwork in your waiting room.

To help your pediatric dental office stand out from others in the area, take the time to stock goody bags with kid-themed toothbrushes, floss, and toothpaste. Consider giving out brightly colored toothbrushes, or toothbrushes with fun and bright designs. Kids love stickers, so you could throw a few in each bag for another fun surprise.

Provide Dental Tips for Families In-Person and Online

One way to improve your chances of dental practice success is to keep your patients informed. In-person, provide information and education to parents and children before, during, and after their appointment. You do not want to overload patients with too much information about oral health care for kids, so keep the information that you share during this time to an easily digestible amount.

For more in-depth information, add a blog to your website. A frequently asked questions (FAQs) page on your website can also be a helpful tool for your patients and their families. Consider adding information about exactly what they can expect during a visit, that way parents can go over the process with their kids before they even make it to your office. Additionally, providing oral health care for kids tips on your website will serve as a great point of reference in the event that an overwhelmed, hurried, or stressed out parent forgets what you told them at their child’s appointment.

If you find yourself running low on ideas for your blog or what information to include on your website, consider having a page where clients can ask their own questions or suggest topics that they are curious about. This way, you have content to keep on your website, and you can be sure it is 100% relevant to the community you serve.

Offer Resources for Further Treatment and Procedures

Pediatric dentistry is a comprehensive treatment for good oral health, but when it comes to things like cosmetic dentistry or helping patients get straight teeth with braces, you will need to refer patients to specialists. Whether you have a professional network of colleagues that you refer patients to, or you give your patients the information they need to find their own specialist, giving clients as much information as possible is always advisable.

For pediatric dental practice success, it is absolutely critical that your patients understand how much you care about them. Taking the time to sit down with patients that require further treatments or procedures is a great way to show your clients that they are your priority. Explain what treatment is needed and why, and provide information that empowers clients to make an informed decision about their next steps.

Successfully running a pediatric dental practice is incredibly rewarding. Knowing that you provide treatment for good oral health in the office and at home by keeping your patients informed about best practices and specific recommendations for them can be even more special than monetary dental practice success. Remember that the most important part of pediatric dentistry is ensuring your young patients feel safe, understood, valued, and cared for. Doing your job well not only benefits you and your patients while they are in your care, but it also helps your patients enjoy a long and healthy life of great oral health.

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