Did you know that 1 in 5 children between the ages of 5 and 11 have at least one untreated tooth decay? If your child is suffering from untreated cavities, it can lead to issues with speaking, eating, playing, and even learning.
In fact, children with poor dental hygiene are more likely to miss school and receive lower grades than children with good dental hygiene. Luckily, the right dentist can help keep your child’s oral health in check.
But, how do you choose the right dentist for kids?
Check out this guide to learn the top questions you should ask when choosing a pediatric dentist.
1. Do You Have Specialized Training?
Many people don’t realize this, but pediatric dentists typically have two to three extra years of specialized training to learn how to care for children’s teeth.
This means they’ll undergo four years of undergrad, four years of dental school, and then an extra few years of training after that. During their specialized training, not only do they learn about the unique oral health issues children face, but they also learn how to deal with children’s behavior and make them feel comfortable during an appointment.
If your child has special needs, rest assured that pediatric dentists also receive training in this area.
2. How Will You Make My Child Feel Welcome?
Around 36% of the population suffers from dental fear, with 12% of the population categorizing their fear as extreme. If adults are afraid of the dentist, it’s no wonder that kids are too.
To help ease your child’s fear of the dentist, it’s very important that you pick a dental clinic that works hard to create a warm and welcoming environment for children. It’s a good idea to visit the clinic beforehand to see what type of decor and activities they have in place to keep children happy and entertained.
If it’s not possible to visit ahead of time, ask the clinic about their setup over the phone. The dentist’s main goal should be to build trust and communication with your child.
If you’re worried about your child’s behavior at the dentist, ask the clinic what they do to handle kids who struggle to sit still in dental chairs. Ideally, they’ll be able to give you a list of techniques they employ to help children who are struggling during dental visits.
3. Do You Take a Preventative Approach?
It’s always better to be proactive instead of reactive, especially when it comes to dental care.
If you’re waiting until your child is in pain from a cavity, you’re waiting too long. Children are much more susceptible to tooth decay than adults, and you want to make sure you choose a dentist who understands the fragility of childrens’ mouths.
When speaking to the dentist, ask them what preventative steps they take to prevent tooth decay in children. They should talk to you about dental sealants and fluoride treatments.
Dental sealants form a protective shield over the enamel of your teeth, helping to protect the grooves in teeth and prevent decay. Fluoride treatments also help make childrens’ teeth more resistant to decay, and fluoride can even improve tiny spots of decay before it turns into a cavity.
4. Do You Offer Consultations?
You can only gauge so much over the phone when calling a dental clinic. To really figure out whether or not a clinic is the real deal, you need to do an in-person visit.
Ideally, you should find a clinic that offers free consultations where you can sit down with the dentist and discuss your concerns. During this visit, you and your child will also have the opportunity to get to know your new pediatric dentist. You’ll be able to see how the dentist interacts with your child and whether or not they’re good at making your child feel comfortable.
During the consultation, you should also ask for a tour of the clinic so you can see how everything is set up and how well the dental hygienists interact with the child patients.
5. Do You Take My Insurance?
Paying out of pocket for your child’s dental care can be very expensive. Without insurance, you can expect to pay between $65 and $100 per check up. However, if your child needs fluoride, dental sealants, or cavity fillings, you can expect to pay even more.
And, remember that you need to take your child to the dentist twice per year, so the costs will double. This is why it’s so important to find a dental clinic that’s in your insurance network.
If you don’t have dental insurance for your child, don’t be afraid to ask upfront about pricing. A reputable dental clinic should be able to give you exact prices for their services. If it’s your first time visiting the clinic, ask about new patient discounts. Many clinics offer free first visits to new patients.
6. Can You Provide References?
A good way to tell if you’ve found the right dentist for your child is to check references. During your phone call with a prospective dentist, ask them to provide you with a list of several references who you can call to discuss their services.
If they can’t provide you with references for whatever reason, you can also read reviews online and check their standing with the Better Business Bureau.
Are You Ready to Find a Dentist for Kids?
Now that you know what to ask when looking for a dentist for kids, it’s time to start your hunt. Pretty soon, you’ll have found the perfect dentist for your child.
If you’re looking for a pediatric dentist in the Nolensville, TN, area, contact us today.