Finding a pediatric dentist can be a worrisome experience, it’s your child’s oral care after all. Rather than spend all your time pouring over “pediatric dentist near me” results, think about what to look for beyond distance. Many dentists say they can handle children but, you don’t want someone who can just handle them. Pediatric dentistry is its own kind of medicine. Children’s teeth are different and they are different kinds of patients. To an extent, you as their parent are also a patient. A child doesn’t always have the language skills to communicate and they are still learning to care for their teeth themselves.
Let’s go over some of the musts for choosing a pediatric dentist to care for your children’s oral health.
Are They a Qualified Pediatric Dentist?
That’s right, being a pediatric dentist requires its own training. While it is true any dentist is able to care for your children’s teeth, a dentist seeing children should’ve gone through special training to work with kids. Any dental office that has child patients would most likely say they are trained to on their website. If you don’t see any sign of that information, don’t be afraid to call and ask. You want to be sure that when your kid sits down in the chair that the dentist knows how to work with them as well as you.
Do They Consider Preventative Care?
Some dentists and parents think that because children’s teeth are all replaced later in life that they don’t need as much care beyond brushing. When looking for a pediatric dentist it’s important to look at how the perform preventative care. You don’t want a dentist who waits for problems before fixing them when they can be stopped, even if all the baby teeth come out. Things like cavities, even on temporary teeth, can cause other problems that are more difficult to fix and may cause problems with new adult teeth.
Consultations and Parent Reviews
This is probably one of the first things parents jump on when looking pouring through “pediatric dentists near me” results. While it’s good to see recommendations on a website, dig a little deeper. Ask other parents who take care of their kids and set up consultations with them. That’s how you can check out the office and the dentist’s chair-side manner. You have the opportunity to talk about their pediatric training, how many child patients they have, and ask insurance-related questions. It’s also a good opportunity to talk with the dental team beyond the dentist. After all, we all know that much of our oral health comes from the hygienists and it’s just as important that they are good with kids as well.
Is the Office Child-Welcoming?
Websites and pediatric dentists “near me” lists are fine but, make sure to look at the office. Remember how scary it was going to the dentist when you were a kid? It’s probably similar for your child so, make sure the office is a child-friendly place. Do they have some children’s books and games? Do they have some fun things on the walls that make the office feel more safe to a kid? Also, many dental practices that offer pediatric dentistry have special rooms just for kids so even during an exam they feel more comfortable. Taking your child to a dental office that invests in making child patients feel comfortable means it’ll be a lot easier to take your kid to the dentist.
How is their Chair-side Manner?
Part of the reason a pediatric dentist goes through special training is talking with kids is not like talking with adults. They are already uncomfortable and uneasy going to the dentist, so having a dentist that doesn’t know how to talk with children will make the appointment more difficult. During a consultation, pay attention to how the dental staff interacts with your kids and how your kids react to them. It is true that children are skeptical of strangers already but, that can quickly change with a good pediatric dentist.
Finding a Pediatric Dentist Near Me
It’s important to take care of your children’s teeth, impart good oral health habits, and prevent a fear of the dentist. That’s why looking for a pediatric dentist can be stressful as well as difficult. It’s finding a match for both you and your children, someone you feel comfortable with handling your kid’s health. These 5 musts for finding a pediatric dentist near me will help you achieve that. Just remember:
A dentist with pediatric training
they focus on preventative care
consult other parents
a child-friendly office
good chair-side manner with kids.