Finding the best pediatric dentist can be a challenge.
Whether you are searching for the first time or looking for a better fit than your current dentist, these tips will help you find the best pediatric dentist in your area.
Regular dental visits are an essential aspect of maintaining good oral and dental health.
There are many factors that affect your experience at the dentist but perhaps the most important is having a dentist you like and trust. This is especially true for children.
They require a patient, skilled pediatric dentist that can calm their fears and keep them comfortable during the visit.
Pediatric Dentist vs. Adult Dentist
While all dentists are doctors of oral health, pediatric dentists complete two-to-three years of additional training to earn a specialization in children’s dentistry which allows them to treat patients from babies to 18 years old.
This special training focuses on the dental needs of infants and children as well as child development. Some specific areas of focus include:
Preventive and invasive oral care of children: Pediatric dentists learn how to recognize issues like tongue thrust, tongue ties, baby bottle tooth decay, enamel hypoplasia, double teeth and other conditions that only affect children.
Developmental and growth issues, related to the mouth, jaw, face and head: Baby teeth differ greatly from adult teeth, and pediatric dentists are trained to handle different eruption patterns as well as the many stages of oral development that infants, toddlers, and children move through.
Treatment of medically compromised and special needs children, with special focus on child psychology.
Children with special needs require special dental care, and a pediatric dentist that is trained to care for them.
A pediatric dentist can work closely with parents to ensure that their child receives the proper foundation for long-term oral and dental health.
Finding a Pediatric Dentist You Can Trust
- Parent Recommendations. Ask other parents which pediatric dentist they use. Seek their advice and opinions about local offices, staff, and providers. Ask questions about the comfort level and overall atmosphere of the office.
- Online Reviews. Yelp and Google reviews will offer you opinions and insider information about the pediatric dentist in question. You can also reach out to reviewers that offer their contact information and ask them questions about their experience.
- Individual Evaluation. After you have narrowed it down to a few options, visit the offices and get a feel for the staff and dentist. Ask questions about the office, the dentist and the staff. If a practice has more than one dentist, see each one individually to decide which may be the best fit for your child.
It may seem like overkill to do so much research, call all these offices and ask so many questions but the bottom line is this: you are trusting this person to examine and care for your child’s oral health, which includes drilling, filling, and even pulling your child’s teeth. Choose the best.
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Your child should see the dentist at least once every six months. This helps your child have better oral health.
Furthermore, while this schedule will help keep your child’s teeth clean and free of decay it will also help your child become more accustomed to the dentist with every visit.
Preparing Your Child
Choosing the right dentist is the best way to make sure your child is comfortable during trips to the dentist but there are a few other things you can do to help prepare your child for their appointment.
Inform Your Child. Tell your child about the appointment the day before. Children react better when they have time to mentally prepare for it.
Read Books. Finding books about the dentist is easy. Your local library probably has lots of free resources, maybe even books that feature your child’s favorite cartoon character.
This allows your child to see and hear about what will happen during the visit.
Listen. Give your child a chance to voice his concerns and ask questions.
Deep Breathing. Encourage your child to take slow, deep breaths to calm her body and mind. This will be a useful technique before and during the appointment.
Pretend Play. Make the dentist fun by going through he motions and possible steps that will occur during the appointment.
Pretending with your child helps them understand what will happen and gives them a chance to become more comfortable with the actions.
Emphasize the positive aspects of proper dental care to your child. Remind your child that these regular visits provide the foundation for great dental health. It helps your child form good habits and prevent serious dental issues.
We hope that this article has been both informative and encouraging and that your now feel well equipped to find the best pediatric dentist for your child.
If you are searching for a pediatric dentist in the Chicago area, contact Dr. Loretta Smith.