Choosing a good pediatric dentist is an important decision that virtually every parent has to make.
As a parent, it’s natural for you to want the best for your children. While this may be true, it’s also a reality that this could often be easier said than done. One of the facets of good overall health that’s often the hardest and most dreaded by parents are the dental visits, and there’s a good reason for this. Trips to the dentist can be a big production number, especially for the smaller kids.
The fact of your kid being afraid of the dentist, however, shouldn’t be enough reason to avoid those semi-annual dental visits. When you want the best for their overall health, oral health shouldn’t be neglected. A visit to a good pediatric dentist whom you can trust to work with through the years is a must.
But, how exactly do you narrow down from among the many pediatric dentists to choose the best? Here’s a thorough discussion of the top seven things to consider when choosing one.
The Clinic Should Offer a Wide Range Of Services
In many instances, a pediatric dentist also becomes a family dentist. They grow with your family as your kids grow. Most importantly, whatever service your family needs at that point when you show up for your appointment, you can have it all done in one place.
There’s nothing more frustrating than bringing your kids with you and then loading them up in the car again when you’re sent to another dentist, as that pediatric dentist doesn’t have the service your child needs. This only makes dental visits even more stressful.
Before scheduling an appointment, ask first if they have the services your kids need. This is especially necessary if your family has any special needs like teeth whitening, orthodontics, dental x-rays, sedation dentistry, or dental implants, among many others.
You may not need various services yet, but you may do as your kids grow. It’s significantly helpful to have a dentist with a wide range of services. This way, you can avoid jumping from one clinic to another.
The Clinic Should Offer a Fun And Enjoyable Environment
If this is going to be your first time taking your kids to a dentist, you have to be prepared for something almost every parent may agree on: dental visits are almost always more daunting than fun. Children will naturally exhibit anxiety once they walk into the dental clinic, with others going as far as having tantrums.
Given how dental clinics can often be intimidating for children, this isn’t surprising. There’s noise here and there from different apparatus, then there’s all the dental equipment plus the dentist and their staff in scary-looking medical uniforms (at least that’s what it is for the kids).
With that in mind, a good pediatric dentist recognizes that reality. Because of that, they go out of their way to actually make their dental clinic a more fun and enjoyable environment for their little patients.
Here are some characteristics of a clinic capable of achieving such:
- There’s a little play and reading area for kids;
- There’s a TV in the waiting area, and even near the dentist’s chair, so kids can watch their favorite movie while the procedure is ongoing;
- The dentist tries to build a friendly bond with the kids and is very easy to get along with (just imagine that of how a pre-school teacher interacts with their students!);
- The dentist avoids any dental speak with kids to reduce intimidation (for example, instead of ‘dental x-ray,’ they’d say ‘picture of your tooth’);
- The dental clinic has small prizes after every appointment, like balloons.
The Pediatric Dentist Should Have a Pleasing And Accommodating Personality
There’s nothing worse than the feeling of having had to struggle to drag your kids with you to the dentist, and when you arrive at the dental clinic, the dentist is screaming like The Grinch. Having to deal with that kind of personality during every dental visit will only be exhausting. In fact, why even settle for that when you can find a dentist with a more amicable, charming, and pleasing personality? Yes, there are dentists with that kind of aura. So, sign up for the pediatric dentist who exhibits those traits.
When you have a pleasing and friendly dentist, your kids will feel more confident going to appointments. They won’t have to dread each dental appointment, as they know they’re with a friendly and understanding dentist. Moreover, as a parent, it would be easier to accept the news that there’s something wrong with your child’s tooth when the dentist also explains it well and gently to you.
As a parent, you should always feel like you can ask any question about your child’s oral health. This means that the dentist should be able to provide you with good advice moving forward. They should be patient enough to address your concerns without you feeling as if they’re always rushing.
Availability Of Pleasing References And Reviews
Fourth, a good pediatric dentist is also one that’s highly recommended. You can ask around from family and friends whom you know have worked with a pediatric dentist. Any name that’s commonly repeated is a telling sign that they’re a good one. Surely, those individuals whom you know personally will never recommend a pediatric dentist to you with whom they haven’t had a pleasant experience working with.
Apart from the recommendations, go through the dentist’s website and social media sites. Run through the reviews and feedback section of your dentist’s site. If there’s anything that’s a red flag for you, follow your gut. For instance, pay attention to reviews about kids who have suffered an infection after treatment. This is a telling sign that the dental office may not be that clean or the after-care instructions weren’t communicated well and effectively enough to the parents and caregivers.
Tricks When Dealing With Misbehaving Children
Running a dental clinic is already stressful by itself. This challenge becomes greater when the pediatric dentist is now faced with the burden of misbehaving children. Imagine this scenario: in the middle of the cleaning procedure, a child suddenly starts to scream and have a tantrum. Because of this, like a domino effect, all the other children waiting outside start to get fearful and agitated.
Observe how the pediatric dentist reacts and behaves in those kinds of situations. There are those pediatric dentists, especially those who are also parents themselves, who know the tricks in handling misbehaving children. The goal is for you to find a pediatric dentist who knows how to handle misbehavior in the calmest and most gentle manner possible.
Choice To Take A Preventive Approach
The good news for parents to rely on is the fact that finding a pediatric dentist nowadays may not be as challenging as it may have been many years ago. There are so many dentists now in that specialization, so you’re never running out of options.
However, like any professional, there are good ones and bad ones. Belonging to the latter group are those dentists who are in it for the money. Rather than take a preventive and proactive approach to oral health, they’re more content with having patients come back frequently to address dental concerns.
Don’t be fooled by that kind of dentist. When you search well enough, you’re sure to find one who chooses to take a preventive approach to oral health. This means addressing potential problems before they even exist, rather than solving oral health problems that could’ve been avoided.
A dentist who takes a preventive approach becomes your perfect partner in ensuring your child’s oral health. This will teach you and your child all the habits they need to know to be able to maintain their oral hygiene.
As is the case with taking in the services of other medical professionals, one of the top necessary considerations that parents need to bear in mind is the budget. If dental appointments aren’t covered in your kid’s health insurance policy, then those are out-of-pocket expenses you’ll have to pay for. Depending on the extent of the work that has to be done with your kids’ teeth, it can result in a hefty price tag.
Because of that fact, it’s essential to consider your budget. Refrain from being swayed into believing that a pediatric dentist who offers expensive rates also equates to quality. This may not necessarily be the case. It’s on you to exercise your parent instinct and budgeting skills to weigh the quality, personality, professionalism, and other factors with the price point.
When you find a pediatric dentist with whom you’re confident as to the price and the quality, then shoot for it. The more their rates fit within your budget, the easier it is for you to keep up with those dental appointments.
Conclusion: How Do You Choose the Right Pediatric Dentist?
The main distinction between a pediatric dentist from a general practitioner is the very fact that the pediatric dentist specializes in kids. You want the best for your kids. So, it’s just but fitting for you to choose the one with that extra specialization. They know how to deal with kids, and they can provide a pleasing and calm environment. If you find a pediatric dentist who satisfies all or a majority of the characteristics above, that’s when you can rest assured your kid’s oral health is in good hands. Don’t skimp on that choice.