Looking for the perfect pediatric dentist for your little (or growing) one? Whether you’ve recently moved, you want to find a new provider, or your child has come of age for their first dentist appointment, finding the right pediatric dentist can be tricky. But it doesn’t have to be!
The digital age has made access to information easier, it’s true. However, when seeking the right dentist for your child, you want to go beyond a Google search.
Finding an amazing pediatric dentist can be challenging, from being overwhelmed with options to not knowing where to start or what’s important. The good news is, the process can be made simple with a little bit of knowledge and guidance. So let’s get started!
What’s a Milestone Visit?
It might be surprising to learn that a lot of parents miss their child’s milestone dentist visit, which is their first trip to the dentist for an introductory visit. Actually, 75% of parents to be exact. Most parents take their children for their first dentist visit around two and a half years old, while parents considered below the U.S. poverty threshold take their children at around three and a half. But a child’s first dental appointment should be when they turn one, according to the American Dental Association.
Why a Pediatric Dentist?
Did you know that pediatric dentists complete an additional two years of training beyond dentists that treat adults? That’s right. Pediatric dentists are trained to specialize in treating children from infancy – babies receive their first tooth around six months – till their teens. They’re even trained to work with kids that have special needs. These are professionals who enjoy working with kids, and have the credentials to prove it.
A child’s first experience with the dentist can dictate how they see every dentist visit going forward. An experience that is inviting, warm, and fun makes a positive impact! Adversely, if the child feels intimidated, unwelcome or afraid, chances are they will not enjoy future trips to the dentist. That’s why finding the right pediatric dentist can make all the difference, and help your child learn to take their oral health habits seriously.
First Things First: Insurance
Unless you’re willing to go out-of-network for a pediatric dentist, your first step should be checking your insurance provider’s directory. By visiting their site, you can explore the network of pediatric dentists. Most directories allow searches by zip code, name, and specialization. Once you’ve narrowed down some great prospects, dig a little deeper.
Ask the Community: Referrals & Reviews
Don’t be shy. Ask family members, friends, co-workers, fellow parents, and even your child’s pediatrician for recommendations, suggestions, or referrals. Word of mouth is a strong indicator that people are happy with the service they received. To that point, so are online reviews and ratings.
Once you’ve settled on a handful of pediatric dentists, it’s time to take a look at their reviews and ratings. What are people saying about their interactions with this person? How good are the ratings for that person’s professionalism, experience, engagement with children? These are important things to find out during your search.
Request a Consultation
Do any of the finalists on your list offer free consultations? Getting a face-to-face meeting will give great insight, such as what the dentist’s demeanor is like and how your child responds to them. You can also get a sense as to whether they appear to have a passion for their work and naturally enjoy what they do. Come prepared with questions, notice the atmosphere around you, and inquire about their qualifications and methods.
Don’t forget to check the dentist’s qualifications! Remember, pediatric dentistry requires two more years than regular dentistry. Besides creating fun, whimsical environments for their pint-sized patients, pediatric dentists are trained in child development, and know how to treat their children based on their appropriate development stage. Further, your pediatric dentist should be a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
Is Prevention Their Intention?
Ask questions to assess whether the dental professional is reactive or proactive. Preventative healthcare is paramount to all else. Unfortunately, tooth decay, crooked teeth or bites, and other problems are common among children. However, when caught early, those problems can be quickly corrected, and, in best case scenarios, prevented altogether. Regular visits to a good pediatric dentist can help with that.
A Kid-Friendly Culture
During your consultation, take notice of the environment. What’s the atmosphere like? Is it appealing to your child? Does the waiting room have kid-sized furniture, children’s books, and toys? It’s good to pay attention to the support staff as well. How is the attitude and manner of the receptionist? Again, a child’s first introduction to dentist visits should be an easy-going, inviting, and comforting experience.
Lifestyle, Needs & Logistics
Overall, you decide what is most ideal for you and your child. Is it important to have the dentist close to your job, your child’s school, or somewhere else nearby? Does their schedule work with yours? Is having to schedule appointments months out at a time a deal breaker? Does your child have special needs? Putting all of the facts and figures together will help you determine your own personal best-case scenario.
The bottom line is that an amazing pediatric dentist equals a good fit for your child as well as your needs and circumstances.Go confidently when seeking the best choice for you and your family. Ultimately, the goal is to work with a pediatric dentist that promotes preventative oral healthcare, and provides services to help your children’s teeth develop properly.
Ashburn Children’s Dentistry Is Pleased to Be Ashburn’s Preferred Pediatric Dentist
At Ashburn Children’s Dentistry, we have been growing healthy faces for over 16 years. We believe that teeth health can have a huge impact on children’s overall well being –physically, socially, and academically. We aim to diagnose and resolve the root of any dental issue, rather than treat the symptoms alone.
Contact us for a virtual consultation today.