The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that kids visit a pediatric dentist when their first tooth comes in or by their first birthday. Finding a pediatric dentist that takes good care of your child’s teeth while making the experience relaxed and fun, sets the stage for a lifetime of healthy teeth. Here’s our three-step process for finding the right pediatric dentist for your family.

Step 1: Get a list of three pediatric dentists to review.

√ Ask for recommendations from friends and family

√ Ask for a referral from your pediatrician

√ Search local websites or magazines for recommendations

√ The AAPD has a great pediatric dentist search tool to help you find pediatric dentists in your area

Step 2: Do your research. Check reviews, investigate social media pages and do a drive-by to look out for the following:

√  Can you confirm the office is, indeed, kid-friendly? Pediatric dentist offices should be catering to children, with colorful paint and hands-on toys in the waiting room to make the experience fun

√ The dentist, office and brand should come across as friendly and welcoming

√  Is the atmosphere friendly and positive?

√  Are there age-appropriate toys, games, TV, etc. in the waiting room to keep your child’s mind at ease?

√  Is the dentist office accessible and is there easy parking?

Step 3: Give each pediatric dental office a call to further qualify process and expertise.

√ Ask what is covered in the first appointment. Your pediatric dentist should talk to you about the following:

  • Education on how diet and drinks affect teeth
  • Educating parents on the proper care of infant or baby teeth
  • Educating kids and teens on the proper care of teeth
  • Demonstration on the proper way to brush and floss
  • Education on the proper handling of knocked-out teeth or fractured teeth
  • Education for the parents on when they can expect their child’s permanent teeth to come in

√ Ask about training: A pediatric dentist has two additional years of residency training for babies, kids, teens and kids with special needs

√  Ask if the dentist and staff explain to your child what to expect?

√  Ask how the dentist responds to scared or crying children?

√  Is the office staff friendly and accessible?

After you’ve screened each dentist, office and staff, it’s time to make a decision and book your first appointment. For a more detailed article about the first appointment, check out What to expect on your first visit & why it is important.

Thanks for reading this step-by-step process for choosing the right pediatric dentist for your child. We hope it helps guide you to a lifetime of healthy teeth.