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.