A pediatric dentist is one that is specially trained to care for children from birth to around the age of two. These dentists have many opportunities to develop meaningful relationships with their patients, build trust, and instill a love of health and wellness in them. Here are some basic characteristics of a pediatric dentist and what to look for when choosing one.
A pediatric dentist should understand and know the specific dental needs of infants, toddlers and children between eight to eighteen months of age and should be able to comfortably interact with teens, tweens and older children as well. He or she should also understand how to make even young kids feel relaxed in what can often be a very hectic situation. It’s important that you feel at ease with your dentist during your first appointment. It’s also important to understand that it may take several visits before the pain and anxiety associated with dental care dissipates. Some people are simply more susceptible to experiencing dental anxiety than others and that can start to manifest itself right away. So be prepared.
There are several important steps you can take to make the process of treating children more pleasant. One, always choose a pediatric dentist who uses safe practices. Two, always choose an office that is clean and organized and staffed by friendly, caring professionals. Three, don’t let your small or young child “hold the baby” during the visit. Let someone else do that!
During your visit you should find a pediatric dentist who listens carefully to your children and has realistic expectations about how long treatment will take. You may find that there are multiple dentists in your area so take advantage of the dentist closest to you. If you do not already have a family dentist then you should begin your search by asking friends and family for referrals. They may have seen a pediatric dentist and know others in the area. If they do not, consider starting a list of potential professionals in your area and call each one to ask about their experience.
Once you have a dentist in mind you’ll want to schedule a consultation appointment. During your initial visit you should be able to talk with the pediatric dentist about your children’s needs including routine care, teeth cleaning and even x-rays. You should be given the opportunity to ask any questions you may have during this time. Also during this time you will want to discuss what types of services you’d like to have your family dentist provide. Some pediatric dentists offer only routine treatments such as tooth brushing and flossing. Other pediatric dentists offer a range of services designed to help your child lead a healthy active lifestyle.
When you make an appointment with a pediatric dentist, you will need to bring any relevant paperwork such as a copy of your child’s developmental and dental chart. You’ll also need to bring a list of any other children you may be seeing that are on your insurance policy. Generally a general dentist will take these into consideration before scheduling an appointment. However, if you have questions regarding your child’s oral health and would like additional information then you are encouraged to let the dentist know. In most cases they will be glad to assist you and look at any other options available for your child’s care.