You may be afraid of going to the dentist, and that’s OK. For your child, however, it is an entirely different issue. Just like you wouldn’t trust your child’s medical care to any doctor, you should take time and select a pediatric dentist you—and more importantly your child—feel comfortable with. But with so many options, where do you start? Follow these tips for a few helpful pointers.
Ask. If you have friends with children older than your own, ask which dentist the see. Recommendations from friends or relatives are one of the most powerful tools in your search for a health provider. Be sure to ask about experiences with the provider individually, as well as with office staff members. It’s ok to ask pointed questions. After all, your child’s health is no laughing matter, so you should take all necessary precautions to ensure your provider is trustworthy. In addition to your friends and family, your child’s pediatrician can likely offer a referral to a trusted and experienced pediatric dentist.
Research. Pediatric dentists provide a broad range of services and undergo special training to provide a comfortable care environment. To achieve certification as a pediatric dentist, an additional two years of training are required. Now, thanks to the Internet, it may be possible to find some background information on dentists in your area. Keep an eye out for dentists who have been certified by reputable programs, and add them to your list of possible candidates. Beyond searching for reputable practitioners, it is absolutely vital to determine which pediatric dentists are covered by your insurance plan. Since pediatric dentists are considered specialty providers, your coverage for these visits may be different from trips to your regular pediatrician. If you have questions about your coverage, contact your insurance agency to discuss providers in your area and any options you may have for care.
Interview. Once you’re done asking for recommended dentists and doing your research, you’ll likely have a list of dentists to choose from. Instead of tossing names in a hat and drawing one, take the time and meet with them individually. Feel free to inquire about their education, experience, and why they chose to specialize in pediatric dentistry. Also, if possible, include your child in the interview. This way, you can find out which provider they feel most comfortable talking to.
Don’t rush. Finding a health provider for your child is not a race. It may take time, but it is important to remember that you will be entrusting your child’s well being to the care of the provider you choose. You may get frustrated, but if you do, simply remind yourself that the choice you are making will ultimately be an essential investment to help promote and ensure your child’s healthy development.
Guest author Patrick Toms DMD is a leading children’s dentist in Gainesville, GA and is proud to offer Gainesville family dentistry services to moms and dads who are searching for oral healthcare that is safe and effective.