When it comes to your child’s health, nothing should be questionable. You should have confidence and trust in all your child’s doctors, including their pediatric dentist. Now, it may seem simple to choose the right pediatric dentist, it could all come down to being in your insurance plan and being local. Though those are two important points, it is not all of them.
Before we dig in deeper, you should know the general difference between a ‘pediatric’ dentist and a ‘family’ dentist. A family dentist provides care to all ages and doesn’t necessarily specialize in children. A pediatric dentist is specifically trained and board-certified to work exclusively with children.
Here are 8 tips for choosing the right pediatric dentist:
Schedule consultations with different pediatric dentists!
You don’t buy the first pair of shoes you try on and you don’t buy the first car your test drive off the lot. The same should be true when it comes to healthcare, especially for your child’s first pediatric dentist. You have to be sure of a number of things when it comes to your child’s pediatric dentist and you should be able to give each and everyone that seems appealing, a test drive before you make your decision.
Let’s see those credentials!
A dentist is not a common profession, it is important that your child’s pediatric dentist is extremely skilled in what they do. Most dental websites and insurance company websites will let you know of their credentials, but you can do your own research as well. Check to see if they have any specializations in pediatric care specifically, also see if they are a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
Do they have a welcoming environment?
Dentists, especially pediatric ones, have a bad rap for being scary (thanks a lot to movies and television shows…). But in reality, they don’t have to be scary. Try and find a pediatric dentist that truly caters to children. Maybe the office is bright and colorful, maybe even with children’s music playing in the lobby. Not only should the office look welcoming and fun, but the staff themselves should be the same. The dentist and the staff should always speak with positive language and speak the language children understand, showing, not telling. The overall office and staff should make the child and the parents, feel welcome and safe.
How do they treat you and your child?
The staff and the dentist should treat you and your child with kindness and respect. Pediatric dentists and their staff should be aware of the stereotypes a dentist and their office can get, so it’s important that they break that label. They should be open to answering any and all questions, no matter the amount. They should also be patient with their patients, no pun intended. As a pediatric dentist, they have to be willing to wait for a child to be comfortable in their chair.
Do they use a preventative approach?
Instead of having to fix something down the road, a pediatric dentist should take a proactive approach so they can prevent problems from occurring. For example, see what their philosophy and practice is on treatments that prevent tooth decay, rather than just fix it. Do they use sealants? Do they use a fluoride treatment for stronger teeth? All important questions to ask.
Location and availability!
While finding a well-renowned pediatric dentist with great reviews are important, it’s also important to see just how popular they are. Sometimes a pediatric dentist can be too busy, and won’t have the availability you need when you need it. Make sure that they have a good range of days and hours that are open so that you never have to worry about not being able to get an appointment. Location is also a critical factor. You want to be close to your pediatric dentist’s office so that not only is it not a hassle to get there for your appointments but also so that they are nearby in case of an emergency.
What insurance do they take?
As much as you don’t want cost and insurance to be a factor in your search for a pediatric dentist, that is usually the case. Many offices cater to many different insurance companies and also offer a variety of payment plans. Just be sure to factor in the cost.
Check out those reviews!
Reviews are always a good way at getting a sense of another person’s experience with the pediatric dentist. Enough good reviews, or enough bad reviews, can really make you feel confident about your decision. But not only reviews from strangers helpful, but also reviews from family and friends. It’s always helpful when someone you know can recommend a great pediatric dentist to you.
In the end, there are many factors that go into choosing the right pediatric dentist. It is all a matter of what works for you and your child. The right pediatric dentist is one who makes you and your child feel comfortable and does not cause you to be afraid when you get the reminder that your appointment is coming up.