Finding the best pediatric dentist to meet your child’s oral health care needs isn’t easy. But it can be done. With a little homework, time, and patience, you can find an understanding, talented dentist to keep your child’s teeth healthy and attractive. We’ll discuss six ways to do it.
1. Know Your Child’s Needs
Know your child’s needs and make a list of them. Is he or she comfortable in a dental chair or anxious and nervous? If anxiety is an issue, the best pediatric dentist is one who is gentle and understanding. It may be helpful to find a dentist who offers some form of mild sedation to help your child relax during appointments.
Also, consider the condition of your child’s teeth. Are they healthy and aligned, or will orthodontic treatment be needed in the future? Does your child have TMJ issues, or any problems with swollen, irritated, or bleeding gums? A more experienced dentist will be alert to those issues and refer your child to a specialist as needed.
2. Ask for Referrals
Ask friends, family members, neighbors, or co-workers if they know a good dentist for children. If you receive a referral, ask the person making the recommendation how long their children have been patients of this particular dentist. Ask the family (including the kids) what they do or don’t like about the dentist. Ask questions about the dental hygienists and how well they clean teeth. A person may love his or her dentist, but not be so pleased with the hygienist, or vice versa. The best dentist for someone else might not be the right dentist for your child. Consider what is important to you, including the dentist’s fees for services.
3. Consider a Family Dentist
Family dentists treat both children and adults. Usually, a specialist isn’t needed to care for a child’s basic dental needs. So consider finding a family dentist who is willing to provide services for your entire family. Many families find it more convenient to choose a family dentist because they only have to visit one location for everyone’s dental needs.
4. Look for the Dentist’s Credentials
Look for pediatric or family dentists who show a real interest in dentistry and in children. Does the dentist’s website indicate how frequently he or she participates in continuing education? Does the dentist only meet the minimum requirement or more? Is the dentist a member of certain dental organizations?
The best dentists for children are serious about continuing education, and their education, training, and credentials show it. A dentist’s credentials provide you with information on his or her skill, experience, and interest in healthy smiles.
5. Look for the Dentist’s Reviews
Dentists often have reviews or testimonials on their websites. Also look for Google+, Yelp, or other reviews. Reviews are not always positive. Pay attention to each review and whether or not parents give details about what they like or dislike about a dentist’s services. Do the reviews really indicate that this might be one of the best dentists for children in your area?
6. Schedule Consultations
Once you identify a few dentists that might be right for you, it’s not necessary for your child to become a patient right away. Schedule a consultation with each dentist and take your child with you. It will be brief, but it will give you a chance to see the office, get a feel for the environment and the staff, and briefly chat with the dentist. A consultation can reveal how your child will be treated as a patient, and whether or not this is the best dentist for your child’s needs.
Don’t Be Afraid to Switch Until You Find the Right Dentist for Your Child
Your child’s oral health and smile are important. If you’ve done everything you can to find the best pediatric or family dentist only to find out that it’s not the right fit, don’t be afraid to switch. Save your list of possibilities for a dentist and move on to the next one. Your child’s dental records can be transferred to another dentist. If you decide to switch, ensure that it’s to a dentist with whom you have some familiarity through a consultation or a recommendation that gives you great confidence.
This post is sponsored by Chatham, NJ family dentist Dr. Allyson Hurley. For nine consecutive times, NJ Monthly magazine has named Dr. Hurley as top NJ dentist.