Around 16% of American children have untreated dental caries which highlights the importance of taking your little one to the dentist early on.
Pediatric dentists aren’t created equal so take time to find the perfect match for your child. Perhaps you’re struggling to find the ideal candidate and you’re unsure what to do.
Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Here is how to find a pediatric dentist you can trust.
What’s the Difference Between a Pediatric Dentist and an Adult Dentist?
After four years at dental school, students who pursue pediatric dentistry continue their education for several more years.
During this time they specialize in childhood dental issues. For instance, pediatric dentists focus on preventative dental care, mouth and jaw development, and treating medically compromised children.
Further, pediatric dentists perform cleanings, fluoride treatments, and cavity fillings. They also undertake orthodontic procedures so your little one can get their first braces.
Note that pediatric dental begins with babies, at the beginning of their tooth formation, until 18 years of age. After that, they’re referred to a general dentistry practice.
What to Look For
To find the perfect child dentist, you must know what to look for. Make sure you visit several before deciding so you find the right dentist for your little one. You should consider:
When you’re searching for pediatric dental care, their experience is the most important factor. The dentist must have a license and certifications to prove they’ve attended dental school and trained in pediatric dentistry.
You should also check whether the dentist is a member of the American Dental Association. This shows they know about the latest advancements in dentistry.
How the Dentist Treats Kids
As you search “orthodontic office near me“, factor in how kid-friendly the practice is. Many children are afraid of visiting the dentist so find one who is friendly, relatable, and understanding to the child’s needs.
The pediatric dentist should explain each procedure so your little one knows what to expect. Further, the dentist should educate you both about proper oral care so your child can develop healthy habits.
As a parent, it’s your goal to find a dentist with who your child is relaxed. So if they feel uncomfortable, continue searching.
A Welcoming Environment
It takes 27 seconds to make a first impression so consider how you feel once you step into the office.
The staff should create a welcoming, positive, and kid-friendly environment. They should also be patient and empathetic to nervous children and help ease their nerves.
Find a pediatric dentist located near your home and make sure the office hours align with your schedule. If not, you’ll both have to leave school and work early which is a hassle.
When you’re there, check that the pediatric dentist accepts your dental insurance. If not, see if they offer reasonable rates and a payment plan.
How to Find the Perfect Fit
Not sure how to find the top dental services? Know there are three major ways to discover a reputable pediatric dentist. For example:
Ask Around for Referrals
Word-of-mouth recommendations are a fantastic way to get pediatric dentist recommendations. Ask parents how welcoming the dentist is, whether their child felt comfortable, and the overall atmosphere of the office.
It’s also helpful to ask which procedure their little one had so you can glean how effective the treatment and after-care were. A bonus is that the parents (or the child themselves) will give you honest feedback so there aren’t any nasty surprises.
Check Online Reviews
When you’re browsing online, read online reviews to learn more about the child’s experience. Find comments that relate to your little one’s treatment so you can find a pediatric dentist who has the expertise.
But note that reviews can be biased so consider this when you read overly positive or negative ones. Don’t be afraid to reach out to clients who are in a similar situation as they’ll tell you what to expect.
Visit a Dental School
Pop into your local dentist school and ask the staff for recommendations. The employees will have valuable insight into the industry so they’ll know which pediatric dentists are thoughtful and have the right skills.
Your child can even use the dental school’s services as the students are supervised so they provide the best treatment possible.
Schedule an Appointment
Once you’ve got your top three options, schedule a consultation with the pediatric dentist. This gives you a feel for the environment and helps you learn more about their expertise.
Feel free to ask questions to decide whether they’re the perfect fit. For example, you could ask:
- How many years of experience do you have?
- What will happen at my child’s first appointment?
- Does my child need orthodontic treatment?
The dentist should be happy to answer your questions and give you informative answers. You should also consider how the dentist addresses your little one and if they make the effort with them.
And don’t forget to ask your child for their opinion on the pediatric dentist. It’s surprising how instinctive children are!
That’s How to Find a Pediatric Dentist
Hopefully, after reading this article, you now know how to find the perfect pediatric dentist.
Ask parents for referrals, search online, and see if the dental school has any recommendations. When you meet the dentist, ask about their experience, consider how comfortable your child is around them, and the type of treatment offered. Good luck!
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