What to Look for When Selecting a Pediatric Dentist
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends you bring your child to a dentist once their first tooth comes in, or by their first birthday. But, not all pediatric dentists are the same and finding the right one who takes good care of your family while providing a relaxed and stress-free environment can make all the difference. This checklist will help you select the best care for your child’s dental needs.
Where to Find Pediatric Dentists
Finding a dentist in your area who is affordable and specializes in kids’ dentistry is half the battle. Try asking for recommendations from friends and family with experience. You can also ask your child’s pediatrician for a referral at the next check-up. The AAPD website has a pediatric dentist search tool to help you find someone with plenty of experience with kids. Make sure to ask about their training with babies, adolescents and children with special needs. A pediatric dentist should have two to three years specialty training following dental school, in which they limit their practice to treating children only.
What Kind of Care to Expect
Your son or daughter will likely be visiting a pediatric dentist from infancy until they’re a teenager, so it’s good to know what proper dental care is needed at various stages of growing up. For example, you’re going to need oral exams and risk assessment when your child is an infant. As they get older, preventative care like regular cleanings, sealants and fluoride will be necessary. Eventually, your child will be assessed for potential orthodontic treatment to straighten teeth and correct improper bites.
A trip to the pediatric dentist should not be a scary experience for your child. They’re more likely to have healthier teeth if their attitude toward the dentist feels more fun than fearful. Make sure your pediatric dentist’s office has plenty of kid-friendly activities for your family while you wait in the lobby. Is the office staff friendly and accommodating? How does the dentist respond to a child who is upset or scared? These are all questions to ask yourself before choosing the right pediatric dental care
The Education and Resources You Need
It’s important for your dentist and staff to educate you and your family on proper dental care at home. Ask for resources on caring for infant and baby teeth, get a demonstration for proper brushing techniques and learn how diet can affect teeth. With your baby, you’ll need to know how to deal with dental habits like teething, thumb sucking and pacifier use.
You don’t have to settle for just anypediatric dentist. With a little research, you can find top-rated and kid-friendly dentists for your tiny tots without too much hassle or stress on your wallet.