How to choose the right pediatric dentist

Some parents believe their children do not need to see a dentist until the little ones start school. Other parents wait until the child complains of tooth pain. However, dental professionals recommend that children should begin getting dental checkups before starting kindergarten, possibly around the age of three or four. This will help to ensure that the baby teeth are coming in naturally and that no problems are apparent at present. When it is time for your child to see a pediatric dentist, here are some tips to help you choose one that is best for your children’s needs.

1. Choose a Pediatric Dentist

Although many dentists have no concerns about having children as patients, some prefer to work with adults. Look for a pediatric dentist who specializes in child patients. They have studied dental procedures for kids and have experience treating children for a variety of dental issues. Some of these practitioners earn a well-deserved reputation for being child-friendly and popular among kids due to handing out stickers or having a fun attitude during the exam.

2. Ask About Children’s Exam Procedures

After finding a pediatric dentist, call the office and ask about a typical child’s exam, including type of tests such as x-rays and a visual exam that are included in the exam. Depending on the child’s age, you may also want to ask about the dentist’s approach to children’s checkups. Some offices use DVD’s, music, puppets, or humor to distract children during the exam, especially kids who are anxious or fearful. You will want to ensure that the techniques used will be tolerated by your child.

3. Find Out Which Treatments are Offered

Children with dental problems like frequent cavities or tooth discoloration may require more extensive evaluations and treatments than average. See if the pediatric dentist you are consulting is able to address those issues. If not, perhaps the dentist can recommend another pediatric dental professional who does handle those concerns. Common services requested by some parents include veneers, onlays and inlays, and whitening treatments.

4. Inquire about Referrals for Specialist Services

If your child has been previously diagnosed by the family doctor or regular dentist with a dental anomaly like an overbite or tied tongue, for example, ask the prospective pediatric dentist if the practice handles those issues or others you are concerned about. As the child approaches adolescence, it may seem as though orthodontic work is needed to straighten the teeth. The pediatric dentist can possibly refer you to a specialist for a consultation. It is best to find out before making an appointment in case the pediatric dentist does not personally address certain types of dental problems or does not make referrals for special dental problems, although that would be uncommon.

Children’s dental care should be part of an overall healthy lifestyle. Catching dental problems while the child is young provides a better opportunity to effectively treat them. Plus, children learn that going to the dentist can be fun or at least tolerable.

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