How do I choose a pediatric dentist?
Good oral care is just one of the many responsibilities that come with being a parent. Children’s teeth, compared to adult’s teeth, are more prone to cavities and fractures. That’s why it is a must that parents bring their children for dental check-ups at least twice a year. When children are already experiencing tooth pain even before they have visited a dentist, it makes it harder for the parent to convince them to have someone else look at their teeth. Their fear of adding more pain to what they already have hinders their ability to trust the dentist, especially with all the odd looking tools and scary sounds they hear in most dental offices.
Pediatric dentists are not that different from general dentists. They have the same medical degree and the same professional responsibilities. The only thing that sets pediatric dentists apart from general practice dentists is the certification training they have gained on how to deal with children, which for a parent may mean everything. They also study different procedures and techniques such as conscious and deep sedations that are applicable to treating children with autism. Pediatric dentists are strongly recommended for children with ADS, since they are familiar with the symptoms of the illness and they are trained in how to manage children with autism in order to complete necessary procedures.
Here are some points to remember when choosing the right pediatric dentist for your child:
Qualification and Certification
Please keep in mind that the pediatric dentist you choose to care for your child’s dental health should have completed a course in Pediatric Dentistry from an accredited institution.
Active License to Practice
The pediatric dentist should have a license that permits him or her to practice the said dental profession in your state. Professional dental licenses are approved and given by the state board. Usually certifications and licenses of dentists are displayed in the reception area of a dental clinic. If this is not the case do not hesitate to ask the dentist about it.
Good Behavior Management Skills
It is known that children with ASD possess disrupted communication and social skills. You need to find a dentist who has strong behavior management skills. A dentist that greets your child with a big, warm smile would be a good start. Pediatric dentists are specifically trained to use communication that is built on a dynamic process of dialogue, facial expression, and voice tone. A good example of a therapeutic interaction from your dentist to your child would be the dentist allowing the child to observe how the dental chair goes up and down, without the child having to sit on the chair yet. In this manner, the dentist is addressing your child’s fear. Pediatric dentists should not be aggressively forceful especially on the first dental visit.
Know The Difference Between A Pediatric And Family Dentist
Family dentists are general dentists and they provide professional dental care to patients of all ages, not just children. Pediatric dentists, on the other hand, must undergo 2 more years of specialized training and be board-certified by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. They work exclusively with children.
If you want to find a pediatric dentist near you, you can check out the AAPD’s search tool here. You may also be able to get referrals and recommendations from family and friends, or your general dentist.
Take A Look At Online Reviews
Once you’ve identified a few nearby pediatric dentists, we recommend taking a quick look at the online reviews for each one. Online reviews are generally a good way to get an idea of what you can expect from a particular dentist, and provide you with a lot of valuable information about their services, bedside manner, and how well they work with kids of a particular age.
Schedule Consultations With Each Pediatric Dentist
Pediatric dentists are happy to schedule consultations where you and your kids can meet the dentist, visit the office, and learn more about what they do. During this time, no dental work will be done. You’ll just have the opportunity to visit each office, talk to the dentist and the staff, and learn more about the practice.
You can also see how child-friendly the practice is. A great pediatric dental office will cater to children with toys, books, fun colors, and a relaxed atmosphere that helps your child stay calm and entertained before, during, and after their appointment.
Ask for Recommendations
To start the process of finding the right pediatric dentist in Raleigh, you may want to ask other mothers or friends about the dentists they use. You can also ask your pediatrician and/or family doctor for recommendations.
Call and Ask Questions
Prepare a few questions and call the pediatric dentists you are considering. A quick phone interview can help you determine which dentist would be best for your child. Common questions to ask include how long they’ve been in business, their pediatric specialties, how long it takes to schedule an appointment and what types of insurance they accept. If you have a special needs child or a child with learning disabilities, you may want to ask the dentist if they accept children with special needs and what steps they take to ensure the child is comfortable and relaxed.
Good knowledge of dental equipment
When you take a tour of the dental clinic, make sure you check up on the pediatrician as well. You should check if the dental clinic has all the necessary dental equipment or not. If your autistic child is in need of any kind sedation, they should be able to provide that. Some of the common things that your ADS suffering child will be requiring include oxygen tank, papoose board, pulse oximeter and more.
Don’t assume general dentists are best for your child
Pediatric dentists go through two extra years of residency training after dental school. This makes them especially qualified to provide pediatric dental care. General dentists don’t have this same level of training to work with children. As a result, they may not be able to explain dental procedures in a way that’s easy for your child to understand.
Your child’s first impression of the dentist is important. A bad first experience could make your child afraid of the dentist. Our pediatric dentists give your child the tools they need to maintain a healthy smile for life. You should especially choose a pediatric dentist if your child has anxiety or other special needs.
Choose a pediatric dentist close to home
We recommendchoosing a new pediatric dentist that’s close to home or your child’s school. That way, you won’t have to travel long distances for a dental emergency or in bad weather. It’s much more convenient to have your child’s dentistlocated nearby.
At the same time, it may be worth it to you to drive a bit farther to get your child the quality dental care they need. As the parent who’ll be responsible for taking their child to the dentist, it’s up to you.