From the moment they’re born, you can’t enough of your child’s smile. Knowing how to choose a dentist for your child is one of the most important jobs you have as a parent.
Even though your child will lose their baby teeth, early dental care is still important. You’re helping them to form healthy habits early and help them keep a sparkling smile for life.
Choosing a dentist for your child isn’t a decision to take lightly. Your child’s experiences at the dentist set their expectations for the future, and you want every visit to be productive.
Here’s how to choose a dentist that will make your child smile:
1. Check That They Have Pediatric Dental Experience
Children’s dental needs are different from adult dental needs, and your child will benefit from going to a dentist designated for their unique care.
Dentists who specialize in pediatric dentistry have one or two more years of formal education. They also have experience and training in working with special needs patients.
Most pediatric dentists will be able to accommodate children of all ages, starting from infancy up until adolescence. Make sure you ask about their age range and how their approach differs for various ages.
But most notably, pediatric dentists don’t just care for your child’s teeth. Rather, they focus on a holistic approach to dental care, including your child’s diet and oral health habits.
Children receive care and communication tailored to their needs and may get the best experience from a team who can connect with them on their level.
2. Request a Consultation
When choosing a dentist for your child, it’s good practice to request a consultation with the dentist and their team.
This gives you a chance to ask questions about their treatment options and approach to dental care, as well as discuss costs and insurance.
You can find out what their exams include and how they handle checkups and procedures.
Keep in mind that dental care can vary from practice to practice. Some practices will provide entertainment for the child during exams and cleanings, such as movies or TV shows, while some practices won’t.
Though this might not matter right now, remember that every component of the experience will have an impact on your child.
Knowing how dentists interact with your kids and get them excited about their visit can be the difference between a productive visit and a stressful one.
3. Tour the Facilities
Call the dentist’s office to see if you and your child can come in for a tour. This should tell you immediately whether the practice is kid-friendly or not.
Some offices that call themselves kid-friendly aren’t geared specifically toward kids. Instead, their office looks like any other dentist office and treat patients of all ages.
Dental offices that cater specifically to kids will have toys, TVs, and fun colors throughout the office.
They know kids can’t be patient and will do everything in their power to make their visit fun and comfortable.
Touring the facility in person will also give you a chance to see how the staff interacts with the children. A staff that speaks politely and acts friendly will be more likely to make your child’s visit a positive one.
It’s important to bring your child with you so you can gauge their reactions to the office environment. If your child feels scared or nervous about touring the office, you may want to keep looking for a dentist.
The last thing you want is to turn every dental visit into a nightmare experience for your child.
4. Ask Questions
Whether you schedule a consultation, take an office tour, or simply make a phone call, have a list of questions ready.
For starters, you may want to find out what treatments are offered at the office. Hopefully, your child will never need anything more than cleanings and X-rays. But if serious issues were to arise, it’s good to know whether they can handle them in-house or where they refer out to.
If your child has a known dental issue, such as an overbite or tongue-tie, ask how they handle those issues. As your child gets older, the dentist may recommend additional treatment options for these issues.
In some pediatric dental practices, parents are not allowed to accompany their children to the treatment area. This can be nerve-wracking for the child and the parent. Find out ahead of time if you will get to be with your child during treatments.
Also, dental techniques can vary from practice to practice. For example, some practices offer sedation dentistry for long procedures.
Though technique may not matter now, it might in the future. Take time to learn their techniques and their emphasis on safety.
This isn’t a complete list of questions to ask, but it should give you a solid start in vetting each possible dentist.
5. Consider Ease of Scheduling
Scheduling can be a deciding factor when choosing a dentist for your child. You need to be able to get your child in for an appointment without having to jump through hoops or wait for weeks.
Consider if your child has a toothache or a dental emergency. How long will it take your dentist to get them on the schedule?
Also, think about your own schedule. Does the dentist offer extended appointments so you can take your child after you get off work?
Find out what you can about their scheduling practices so you don’t run into any surprises later.
Know How to Choose a Dentist for a Lifelong Smile!
Every child deserves a beautiful smile, and it starts with forming the right dental habits. Knowing how to choose a dentist is an important job that every parent will need to master at some point, and we can help!
At Children’s Dental and Orthodontics, our team specializes in pediatric dentistry and taking care of younger patients. We help to put fears at ease and make your child excited for their dental visits.
Request an appointment today and our team will be in touch!