Every six months we take the kids to our large family dentist to get their teeth checked. The younger five go to a pediatric dental office, while the older two are treated as adults (haha, “adults”). While good dental hygiene is important to me, I mainly take the kids so someone else can shame them into brushing their teeth. Maybe it’s my “familia” mentality, but I enjoy when my kids have to hear the same lecture I’ve given a million times from their snarky hygienist.
Three things are a must for me when it comes to large family dentist appointments:
- Open Layout
- Upfront Billing Practices
Kid-friendly Office (This is a no-brainer)
Before anything else, I found a dentist that would schedule a handful of my kids at the same time.
Hygienists and dentists that are experienced with children are invaluable (you know, if you ever want to get your kids to go back). Our office hands out tokens when kids are cooperative and/or don’t have cavities. They use the tokens to buy little toys from bubble-gum dispensers when they are done getting their teeth cleaned.
Our dentist office also has a quality children’s movie playing in the waiting area, as well as the area that the kids’ get their teeth cleaned. It’s nice to move from one area to the other without skipping a beat on the movie we got engrossed in.
Taking the kids to the dentist is my department (as far as household tasks are concerned): Five kids visiting the dentist at the same time, and just one me. I need to be able to keep an eye on each of them, and to be available to the dentist and hygienists when they need me. The best way to stay on top of things is in a room with an open layout.
Our dentist office has a large room with several chairs for the kids to be worked on at once. I can watch my kids (and we can all watch our movie) from my seat towards the middle. The hygienists can call me over without getting up, and I don’t feel silly popping from one room to the next- like I would if they all had separate rooms.
Most of us have been burned by mysterious billing practices. The best way I have found to avoid this is to be aware of what your insurance will cover. I ask the administrators to make me aware of anything “extra” that they may have in mind for the kids that day. Then I tell them not to do it at this time; I’d like to check my insurance first. Technically, I have my husband check because wrestling with automated phone services is his department.
I also have to watch out for key words like, “We’d like to” or “I recommend”; these usually mean extra charges. Again, I ask that they make a note to keep an eye on the problem instead of performing an extra x-ray during this visit. Usually, the extra costs are minimal or the problem corrects itself. My dentist office will sometimes check my insurance themselves right away, if they have time. Taking the time to verify with insurance can save me a headache later.
While no one WANTS to go to the dentist, my kids don’t balk either. They repeatedly have a good experience getting their teeth cleaned. More importantly, I’m not opposed to scheduling them future appointments because our office keeps my stress at acceptable levels. Getting a bag with their very own toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and token toys is the next best thing to Christmas for them. ‘Course, then I spend the next couple of days fighting dental floss strewn across the house like silly-string.
What makes trips to the DENTIST manageable for you? Drop a line in the comments section!