The Complete Guide to Choosing a Pediatric Dentist: Everything to Know

choosing a pediatric dentist

Did you know according to the CDC 50% of children between the ages of 6 and 8 have had a cavity?

Taking your child to the dentist can help prevent cavities, but we know finding the right dentist for your child can be challenging. You want your child to get the best care possible, and with so many options, it can be stressful.

There are a few things you should consider before choosing a pediatric dentist. We are going to go over everything you need to know. Keep reading to find out how to find the best dentist for your child. 

Options For Dentists 

There is a difference between a family dentist and a pediatric dentist. A pediatric dentist will have extra training that a family dentist might not have, as they serve many different age groups. Choosing a dentist that understands children and specializes in pediatric dentistry will be helpful for your child’s oral hygiene. 

Pediatric Dentistry Experience 

A dentist who only works with children is required by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry to have two years of specialized training. Treatment for children and adults is so different that is why it is crucial to have someone with a lot of experience.

Going to the dentist can be stressful even for adults. A good pediatric dentist should have the skills and experience to calm your child’s nerves. 

A lot of dentists will put their certifications on their website along with their experience. If it’s not posted, take the time to ask them. 

Reading Online Reviews 

Online reviews can be very helpful when choosing a pediatric dentist. This is an easy first step. Online reviews can help you narrow down your search.

Just like with any review, be sure the post is true and genuine. You should also consider how the office responded to negative reviews, they can tell you a lot about who they are as a whole and how they communicate. Talk to people in your community and ask for recommendations from family and friends.  

Comparing Dentist Costs

Be mindful of your insurance. One of the first questions who should ask is if they accept your insurance. If they don’t, there’s no need to waste your time asking anything else.  

If you don’t have insurance, talk to them about payments. A good practice will be upfront with you about pricing, and you should be honest with yourself about your budget.

Compare the prices of different offices around town too. The most expensive practice in town doesn’t mean it’s the best. 

Consultation 

Reviews are great but talking to the dentist yourself is crucial. Set up a consultation and have a list of questions ready for them. Consider your whole experience, from the time you walk in to the minute you leave.

How was the customer service? Was the place clean? Did they make time for you, or were you rushed?

These are questions you must ask yourself every time you leave a consultation. You should take your child or children with you.

It is important to get their input. If your child is a bit older you can ask them their preferences and what is important to them.

You can ask them how they felt about the staff they interacted with and the different things they may have noticed. If they don’t feel comfortable around the dentist, it might not be a great fit. 

Don’t stop at the first consultation. Take your time and interview of few in your area. 

Location 

Location may seem minor compared to the other things you need to consider, but it’s still a contributing factor. You’ll be driving your children to this place for years.

You want to make sure it’s in a convenient location so they don’t have to miss too much school. Consider parking as well. You don’t want to have to fight for a spot every time you go. 

Services 

Ask about the services they provide. If your child has an accident, you want to be sure their dentist has the ability to help them. If your child has a disability or special need, you need to know if they can accommodate. 

Dentist for Kids

If your child has had a bad experience at the dentist, talk to your potential dentist about it. Your child may need you to go back to the appointment with them and you’ll need to confirm with the office that that could be an option if needed. It’s a good sign if your dentist can be accommodating to you and your child’s needs. 

Your pediatric dentist’s office should be kid-friendly as well. Look for toys in the office for your younger child to play with.

Some places will have a toy chest where children can pick something to take home with them. These things may seem small but anything that contributes to making your child feel safe is important. 

Go With Your Gut

You know your child better than anyone, you know what they need and what will potentially upset them. If a dentist comes highly recommended and seems to check off all the boxes, it may be a great fit, but it may not be. Just because something looks good on paper doesn’t mean it’s the best option. 

It’s important that you don’t feel pressured to choose a specific oral health provider. It may take time to find the best one, don’t rush yourself into making a decision. Your child’s health is at stake. 

Choosing a Pediatric Dentist

Your child’s health and safety is the most important thing. Although it can be stressful choosing a pediatric dentist, we hope you feel more confident after reading this article. Click here to contact us with any questions. 

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