By the time of his or her first birthday, your child should have made the first trip to a pediatric dentist. The choice of dentist or practice is an important one, as your child will be going there for dental care for several years. If you live in an area where there are multiple practices, you may want to make more than one visit to find the right fit. But how do you make this important decision? How do you choose the right pediatric dentist for your child?
A Good Reputation
First, consider the reputation of the pediatric dentist. How has this person been perceived by other patients? Just by asking family and friends about their experiences with a practice, you can get a sense of whether it will be a good match.
There are also several online resources for searching for local dentists, many of which describe the dentists’ background and credentials. You can also find reviews online to see how others have experienced a dentist. While such reviews should not be the basis of your final decision, they can be a helpful way to start.
Services Offered by a Pediatric Dentist
An important consideration is what sort of services are offered by the dentist. There are some basic services that should be standard in any pediatric office:
- Infant examinations and oral care
- Cleanings and fluoride treatments
- Regular x-rays
- Sealants on molars
- Cavity repair
- Personal dental care advice, including information about nutrition and oral habits like thumb-sucking.
- Early orthodontic assessments
You will also want to know the practice’s policies on emergency dental care. Can the dentist come in after hours or on weekends for emergency care? Some dentists work in coordination with other local practices, so there is always a pediatric dentist on call for emergency needs.
A Friendly Atmosphere
Once you have found some possibilities, you will want to visit the offices. Many pediatric dentists are willing to speak to new patients outside of the first office visit to explain policies and practices. When you visit a practice, you will want to pay attention to a few things.
Is it child friendly? A pediatric dental office should have a waiting area that is engaging for children, with children’s books and magazines. It may also have a play area for younger children. You want to see a space where children are not spending their time thinking about the upcoming visit.
Is it calming or chaotic? Any dental office has many moving parts beyond the dentist. There are appointments to be scheduled and insurance companies to contact. Dental hygienists are trying to do their work in a careful, but time-sensitive way. As someone coming in from the outside, does it seem like people are calm or stressed? A stressful atmosphere can lead to anxious children.
Are there resources available? A pediatric dental office should have age-appropriate resources to take home, helping children establish good dental habits.
A Personal Connection with Your Pediatric Dentist
Finally, you will have the chance to meet the pediatric dentist him or herself. Of course, with young children, there is always some anxiety in meeting a new person, especially someone who keeps wanting to look inside their mouths. But, in this first interaction, was the dentist able to make a connection with your child?
You want a pediatric dentist in Tulsa who is patient with children, understanding of their fears and calm in the face of them. A good pediatric dentist will take the time to explain what is happening step by step, answering unexpected questions along the way. That person should also make certain that children understand instructions. It is one thing simply to say, “Brush your teeth.” It is another to demonstrate brushing and flossing techniques using models or simulation apps on a tablet.
Choosing a pediatric dentist is an important step in your child’s health care. With a little time and research, you can find a dentist to take care of your child’s smile for years to come.
Contact South Tulsa Dental pediatric dentist today to explore your options.
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