Think of your child’s smile as a priceless work of art – most parents would want to hang it on the wall and show it off to friends and family members, and that’s exactly how you should think about your child’s oral health needs. Your child’s teeth are not just tools for eating and speaking; they’re also here to help your child’s overall appearance. After all, a wide, bright smile is the best accessory any kid can wear.
Once you’ve established how important healthy teeth are for your child’s general happiness and well-being, it’s time to think about planning for their next pediatric dental care appointment. Here are six things to look for when hiring a pediatric dentist.
Look for a pediatric dentist who has plenty of experience working with young children, as well as the patience to help them overcome their fear of the dentist. He or she should have a gentle touch, be patient with kids, and know how to distract little ones when it’s time for X-rays or cleanings.
Look for a pediatric dentist who has access to the latest dental technology, so your child can receive the best care possible from a state-of-the-art facility. Be sure to ask what equipment is available for your child, as well as how it can benefit him or her. For instance, some facilities use digital X-rays that won’t require your child to be exposed to the harmful radiation of traditional X-rays.
- Cozy Office for Kids
Pediatric offices should be cheerful places where kids can feel comfortable. It should look more like a playroom than an office, with toys and other distractions available during appointments. If you visit a pediatric dentist’s office and it makes you nervous – because of the stark atmosphere or the doctor’s brusque manner – take that as your cue to request that someone else see your child instead.
A good pediatric dentist should be able to work with your schedule, even if that means going over what happens at a typical visit or working on weekends and evenings if necessary. Depending on the severity of the issue with your child’s teeth, you might need to see a specialist rather than a general pediatric dentist. But in cases like this, your child’s dentist should be able to make a referral to another pediatric dentist with the necessary expertise.
- Credentials and Affiliations
Does the pediatric dentist you’re considering have certain credentials or is affiliated with certain hospitals or practices? You can research these things by asking for references or visiting websites that review dentists. If your state requires that pediatric dentists be board certified, this information should be readily available. Board certification is a good sign that your child’s dentist has met certain qualifications, including continuing education in pediatric dentistry, participation in ongoing study and research, and the ability to keep up with advancements in this specialized field of dentistry.
- Hygienist-to-Patient Ratio
How many children does the pediatric dentist see on a daily basis? Ideally, your child’s dentist will have just one or two kids to a hygienist. If more than that, be cautious – even if it doesn’t feel crowded in the waiting room, your child is going to be hard-pressed to receive the one-on-one attention he or she needs. Make sure your pediatric dentist hires hygienists who can provide one-on-one care to all their patients, and give you time to ask questions about how to best care for your child’s teeth.
If your pediatric dentist is able to check off all of these boxes, you can secure your child’s bright smile for years to come knowing that he or she is in good hands when receiving pediatric dental care!