Is your child ready for their first trip to the dentist? Are you looking for a dentist who specializes in treating children?
Finding the right pediatric dental center requires a little homework. You won’t want to choose a dentist who doesn’t make your child feel comfortable.
A local dentist is a must since you’ll be visiting at least two times a year.
Here’s what else you should be looking for.
1. A Kid-Friendly Office
Your child should be making their first trip to the dentist around their first birthday. It’s easy for kids to feel overwhelmed at the prospect of going to the dentist for the first time.
A kid-friendly office provides extra touches that make kids feel welcome and even excited about going to the dentist. It may be painted in bright colors or have games and toys in the waiting room. There may even be a TV available while kids are being treated!
The dental staff will be used to kids and enthusiastic about seeing them. Dentists and hygienists will be used to kids and seeing common issues with kids’ teeth. They will have flavored toothpaste and nitrous oxide to make the whole experience more enjoyable for kids.
2. A Qualified Staff
Make sure your dentist has gotten certified by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. They may also have other professional memberships, such as local dental organizations.
Pediatric dentists are required to have an additional two to three years of specialized training after four years of college and four years of dental school. They develop an in-depth knowledge of the phases of a child’s tooth development. If there is a problem, they will be able to recognize it more quickly than a general dentist.
Pediatric dentists have specialized equipment for treating children’s teeth. Dental equipment for babies, for example, may require an extra investment.
Pediatric dentists are also trained in how to provide dental services to children with minimal upset. They perform regular check-ups, cavity fillings, sealant application, and fluoride treatments. And they will know right away when it’s time for a child to visit an orthodontist!
3. A Preventative Approach
Your pediatric dentist shouldn’t be someone who simply performs cleanings and fills cavities. They should be knowledgeable in administering treatments that will help children avoid dental problems in the future.
Fluoride treatments, for example, can help children significantly reduce their chances of developing tooth decay and cavities. They work by restoring minerals to places on teeth where may have eroded enamel. Fluoride can also stop the growth of harmful bacteria.
The earlier children are exposed to fluoride, the less likely they are to develop cavities. Fluoride helps to create a strong outer surface that can help prevent decay from getting deeper into parts of your child’s teeth.
Your dentist may also recommend sealants when your child gets their first molars in. Sealants are thin, protective coatings that adhere to the chewing surface of a child’s back teeth.
Sealants can reduce your child’s risk of tooth decay as well as prevent decay from forming a cavity. They keep bacteria and acid from settling on teeth. Sealing back teeth as soon as they come in is an excellent way to keep your child’s teeth healthy in the long run.
A great way to find a local pediatric dentist is to ask for recommendations from trusted friends and family. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Did they find the dentist to be professional and knowledgeable? Were they patient and positive with their child? Were there any unexpected fees?
Find out if there are any special toys or games that children have enjoyed. This can help you get your own child excited about their first trip to the dentist.
If you can’t get any personal recommendations, go online, and check out local reviews. You may see the same comment coming up over and over again.
One dentist, for example, may have a lot of parents saying that their child loves a particular dentist and is always excited to see them. If many people are making the same comment, chances are that you’re getting a good idea of what you’re experience will be like.
5. Consider the Cost
If you have dental insurance or an HSA, you’ll need to check with pediatric dentists and see which ones would take your insurance or be the most cost-effective.
Some insurance plans, for example, will pay for cleanings for your child at no extra cost to you. They may not, however, cover treatments like cavity fillings. You’ll need to assess how much you will pay and plan accordingly.
Check with at least three local dentists and see how much they will charge for treatments like fillings and sealants. You’ll want to be certain that what you are paying is reasonable for your child’s age and your geographic area.
If you know that certain treatments won’t get covered, it’s a good idea to set up some kind of tax-sheltered health plan with your employer if it’s offered. That way, dental bills won’t come as a surprise to you as your child continues to grow!
Finding the Right Pediatric Dental Center
Locating the pediatric dental center that can best treat your child and fit in your budget will require a little homework. Make sure that your dentist is qualified, experienced, and friendly. The right professional will be keeping your child motivated to keep their teeth healthy until adulthood.
For more information on pediatric dental care, contact us today.