Most children start sprouting teeth between 6 months to a year (sometimes earlier) and by one year of age, it’s recommended that they visit a dentist.
But how do you know which dentist is right for you and your child? Should you choose anyone you find on the internet? What’s the difference between a pediatric dentist and a general one?
If you’re looking for a dentist for your child, but don’t know where to start, here’s our guide on how to find a good dentist.
Pediatric Dentist VS. General Dentist
A general or family dentist often see adults as well as children, and will usually see whole families together. In most cases, seeing a general dentist is completely fine.
A pediatric dentist, on the other hand, works exclusively with children. They have extensive training, about two to three years more than a general dentist. This training involves child psychology, behavior, and growth, so they’re well prepared and educated to treat children’s teeth.
A pediatric dentist’s office might vary greatly from a general office because it contains activities and an environment that is attractive to children. This might include games, bright colors, coloring, and so forth.
Also, if your child has dental issues that are specific to children, the pediatric dentist will know how to approach these problems since they are highly trained in the growth of children’s faces and teeth.
How to Find A Good Dentist
Finding a good dentist takes some work, but in the end, you have to be comfortable with the dentist you’ve chosen. They will likely be caring for your child up through adulthood.
Here are some steps to consider as you select a dentist.
1. Ask Around or Search The Web
By far, one of the easiest ways to find a dentist for your child is to ask other parents. Do they like their pediatric dentist? How long have they been visiting them?
Word of mouth is one of the best ways to find a good dentist.
Once you have a few names handy, start doing a web search. Pay close attention to the testimonials, reviews, location, and how long the practice has been opened.
2. Make A List of Questions And Priorities
When you’ve narrowed down your choice, you’ll need to make a list of questions to ask the dentist to find out if they’re the right fit.
Here are some questions to consider:
- How long have you been in practice?
- Are you board-certified?
- Do you schedule consultations?
- Do you cover my insurance?
- How do you handle emergencies?
- Do you see children with special needs?
- How do you accept payment?
- What is your cancellation policy?
- Do you provide a note for school?
These are just a list of possible questions. There may be others you can think of that applies to your situation and your family.
Don’t forget about listing your priorities! If you like a dentist but they’re quite a drive from your home, maybe reconsider. Make sure the dentist is in your network, a close drive, and anything else you prefer.
3. Visit or Call The Office
Once you’ve chosen a dentist, you can call to see if you can have a tour of the office, or if schedule a consultation with the dentist. Not every office offers this, so be sure to call first. Dentist’s office, especially children’s ones, can become busy quickly, so be sure to schedule a time when the dentist has your full attention.
A pediatric dentist should be welcoming and attentive, answering any questions that you have about your child’s oral health. They can even offer you a few tips to keep your child’s teeth healthy and strong.
4. Schedule Your First Appointment
You feel comfortable with your decision, now it’s time to schedule your first appointment! Call the office to schedule and ask them if there’s anything else you need to do since it’s your first time.
Most likely, they’ll need you to fill out new-patient paperwork, which may require you to come in early. If that’s the case, some offices will mail or email it to you so you can fill it out pre-appointment. Inquire about filling it out before the appointment to save time.
5. Appointment Assessment
Sometimes you choose a dentist and it doesn’t quite go the way you plan. After the appointment, it’s best to take a step back and consider how things went.
Did the dentist educate you and your child about oral health? Did they encourage the child to take care of their teeth in an age-appropriate way?
Did you and your child feel comfortable around the dentist?
Do you feel like the dentist addressed all of the concerns and cares you had regarding your child’s oral health?
Was the office clean tidy and was your appointment on time or close?
Did the dentist offer you any information about your child’s growth, hygiene, or other concerns they had?
Was the staff welcoming and accomodating? Did they explain the finances and fees completely and answer your questions well?
Answering these questions honestly and thoroughly will help you decide if this is the right dentist’s office for your family.
Which Dentist is Right For You?
When you’re thinking about how to find a good dentist, remember that the best dentist is the one you feel most comfortable and confident around. Choosing a pediatric dentist takes some careful planning and thinking, but a good relationship with your dentist is essential.
Are you looking for the perfect pediatric dentist? Our team of professionals are available to answer any of your questions! Contact us today!