Most Americans don’t take their child to the dentist for the first time until their child is about two years old.
However, experts recommend taking them much earlier than that. This is why it’s important to find a dentist that is good with children.
Make sure your child is getting the best dental care possible with this guide on finding the perfect pediatric dentist for your family.
Look for Licenses and Certifications
When looking for a pediatric dentist, you should look to make sure that the dentist has all the right licenses and certifications.
For example, they should have an active license to practice dentistry. This varies by state, so you should make sure the one they have is registered for the state they are practicing in.
The license to practice is given out by a state board, certifying that this person is qualified to be a dentist. Normally certifications like these are displayed somewhere in the dentist office. If you don’t see them, you can always ask a nurse or receptionist about it.
A pediatrician should also have completed a class involved with pediatric dentistry from an institution that was credited. This shows that they have some experience in being able to treat children specifically.
They Should Be Good at Managing Behavior
Kids can be a handful sometimes, and you want to make sure that you have a dentist who knows what they’re doing.
A dentist with skills at managing children’s behavior will help ensure that your child feels comfortable at the dentist.
The pediatric dentist should greet your child with a warm smile and should feel comfortable talking to them. This is a good sign that your children will feel more comfortable about going to the dentist and less likely to develop a fear of it later on down the road.
Most dentists who work with kids are trained especially in areas of communication and facial expression because kids will be able to pick up on even the slightest things.
The dentist should also be patient with your child. This can be a scary thing for a child, and if the dentist is patient and willing to explain the process as they go, then you are more likely to have success with that choice.
If you have a dentist who is rude, impatient, or harsh to your or child, it may be time to find a new dentist.
Consider the Location
When choosing a dentist, you should make sure that it is also somewhere that isn’t too far of a drive away.
If it’s a long drive to the dentist, your child’s anxiety may peak on the drive over because they will have more time to think about and process what is about to happen.
However, if the dentist is somewhere nearby, you can also drive by on your errands and point the office out to your child. This will start to familiarize and normalize the experience for them, and it won’t be as much of a shock or surprise when they have to go.
While the dentist should be friendly, the atmosphere should also feel friendly and inviting.
When you have your consultation or first visit, make sure you look around the office. Is the office specifically making sure that the children feel comfortable? Are there toys and kid-friendly books or magazines in the waiting room?
What about dental equipment? The equipment should be sized for kids and should look smaller than what you’re probably used to. You should also notice if the rest of the staff seems nice and friendly. Notice how they interact with your children.
Normally all of these things are a good sign that you found the right dentist.
Schedule a Consultation
Before you make an appointment for your child with a new dentist, you should ask them for a consultation. If you have multiple dentists you’re considering, make a list and see which one you like best.
While you’re at the consultation, they shouldn’t be doing any work on your children’s teeth. The consultation is more just to see how the dentist and your child interact together. And how you interact with the dentist.
You should notice how your child reacts to the dentist too. Does your child seem afraid of them even if the dentist has been friendly to them? You’ll just waste your time going to a dentist that your child hates.
While you’re at the consultation, you should ask the dentist questions.
No question is too dumb, and the dentist should be patient and willing to answer all of your questions. That is what a consultation is for anyways.
You can ask questions like:
- What should I do to make sure my child has good oral health?
- What treatment options are available?
- What type of insurance do they take?
- What hours are they open?
- How many years of experience do they have?
If you think of any other questions, feel free to ask them!
Consider the Cost
If you have dental insurance, your trips to the dentist will be a little bit cheaper. You should still ask to make sure that they accept your insurance.
However, if you don’t have insurance, you should ask the dentist what payment plans and options they offer. You should also ask what the price of different procedures are.
It’s better to know what to anticipate than to pick a dentist only to find out that you can’t afford it. While investing in your child’s oral health is a good choice, it can be expensive at times.
Find a Pediatric Dentist Today
Now that you know some things to look for when searching for a pediatric dentist, you can start looking for the right fit.
If you choose a good dentist now, your child will thank you later on.
While you’re searching, check us out and contact us here!