For most children (and quite a few adults), a visit to the dentist can easily be perceived as something scary. Even though the dentist is there to help and would be much better to visit than the ice cream man, most children cringe at the thought of visiting the dentist. The right dentist can totally change a child’s perspective on dentist visits and make them truly enjoyable for both child and parent. The right dentist will also inspire a child to practice good oral habits so that tooth decay, cavities, and oral surgeries will remain non-existent. When choosing a dentist for children, consider a few of the points listed below to ensure a good experience!
Nowadays, it’s simple to do a background check on just about anyone. There are plenty of sites dedicated to the reviews of pediatric dentists. While it’s good to be referred to a dentist by word of mouth, it’s also important to know if they’ve attained any certifications in specific specializations. If they belong to any national boards and/or associations, look at the requirements for being a part of those organizations. Usually being a part of a group mandates that a certain level of skill be present. Find someone who is adequately certified to handle the job.
When many people choose a dentist, they might choose the nearest dentist without looking up their experience. While there are general dentist practices available, most dentists have specific specializations. It’s like being an artist. An artist who specializes in creating sculptures is a sculpture artist. They may be still an artist but there is a specific type of specialization that they have. Dentistry is the same way. A dentist who specializes in pediatric dentistry is still a dentist. However, they have the experience a child would need. Consider how many years a dentist has been working in their area of specialization. Educational experience may start the conversation but working experience in the field continues it.
Convenience is really important. While there are many who sacrifice convenience for “quality”, that does not have to happen. It is possible to find a conveniently located dentist who delivers quality service. It is not convenient to sit in traffic for 45 minutes to get across town to a dentist that is a friend of the family because they promise a discount. The amount that might be considered for a discount would probably be equivalent to the amount of gas burned. Choose a dentist that is closest to home that meets the needs of the child. Take a close look at the business hours of the dentist. It isn’t convenient to get off of work earlier than usual and pull the child out of school early because of the dentist appointment. Unless there is a genuine emergency, it’s possible to find a dentist with a schedule that agrees with both the child and the parent (within reason, of course). There are practices with later hours as well as weekend hours.
As previously mentioned, getting a discount from that “friend of the family” dentist whose practice is on the other side of town isn’t convenient. Besides, depending on the discount, the amount saved could possibly be equivalent to the amount of gas used to get to the dental appointment. When interested in a particular dental practice, call the office and find out about the costs. Without insurance, the prices will, more than likely, be very high. Find out if there are payment plans offered. If the child is covered under a particular dental insurance plan, inquire about how much co-pays and other incurred costs could add up to.
Beside manner refers to the relationship between the dentist and the patient. Bedside manner is major because the dentist has to cross physical boundaries and get close into a person’s face for an extended period of time. This factor needs to be closely examined when dealing with children because more often than not, children are afraid to go in to get their teeth checked. Personal references and reviews can really come in handy when others have experienced a particular dentist. Take a look at the general attitude of the dentist. Is he/she pleasant or grumpy? Does the child feel relaxed in their presence? Having a dentist who is kind, friendly and can put everyone at ease is an extremely helpful component to consider when choosing the right dentist. It is really beneficial to consider how well the dentist may be at communicating to a child on their level. When a dentist creates an environment that is comfortable for everyone involved, it’s a sign that the child is in good hands.
These are all vital components to consider when choosing the right dentist for a child. Focus on finding a professional who puts the oral health of a child as their top priority and everything else will be fall into place!