Having the right dentist can go a long way in ensuring that your children’s teeth, gums, and mouth stay healthy and strong for their entire lives. While you could just pick a random dentist out of the phone book (or from a list online), make sure that you take the extra time to find the right fit for your kids.
In order to get some possible recommendations, the best people to ask are your family, friends, coworkers, and even your kids’ pediatrician. Talk to them about who they visit and why. Once you have a list, narrow down the choices based on your location and (if applicable) insurance provider.
From the moment you first talk to the dentist’s office, you should start evaluating their service. Do they take the time to really talk and listen to you? Are they easy to schedule appointments or are they extremely booked? If it’s not easy or convenient to make an appointment, or you feel like the staff on the phone isn’t really giving you the attention you deserve, chances are you will not have the best experience at the actual office.
When you’re on the phone, make sure you ask if all of the dentists are specialists in pediatric dentistry. Specialists in pediatric dentistry have an extra two years of training for babies, kids, and teens. They also have special training for kids with special needs.
Once you are in the office, there are several things to watch for. A pediatric dentist’s office should, above all things, be kid-friendly. There should be a fun, cheerful atmosphere and plenty of games and books to keep the children entertained while waiting. The staff should be warm and friendly to both you AND your child.
It is also important that all of the instruments are correctly sized for a child’s mouth. You want to make sure that your dentist has a good bedside manner, takes the time to explain what he is doing to your child in a friendly and non-threatening way, and knows how to correctly respond to a scared or crying child. If you feel like the dentist is too busy to connect with the child, or if your child has severe reservations about the dentist examining him, then that dentist might not be the right choice.
A trip to the dentist – the right dentist – can be a positive and healthy experience for your child. By taking the time to pick the right dentist, you will help your child have a healthy mouth for years to come.