Dentistry is an important part of everyone’s oral health, but it is often not recognized that children have special needs. Pediatric dentists have additional training after completing dental school, and are better equipped to treat children. From infancy through their teenage years, each stage of a child’s development requires a different approach. A pediatric dentist can help guide children through the various stages of dental growth and development, which can prevent future dental problems. They also understand the need for a different approach when it comes to dealing with their behavior. This is an important part of your child’s health, because a bad experience can create a fearful patient that is resistant to future dental appointments.
Parents often wonder, “How do I find the best pediatric dentist near me?” Start with asking your child’s pediatrician or your own dentist for recommendations. Your family doctor or pharmacist may also be great resources for information. Other parents, such as coworkers, friends, family, or neighbors will give experience-based information and insight into how their pediatric dentist handles difficult situations. Look for a professional who is patient, treats you and your child with respect, and has experience working with kids of varying ages. They should demonstrate skill in calming fearful young patients, and be knowledgeable about childhood development. For children with special needs, more support may be required. In that case, look for an exceptionally compassionate dentist with experience treating children in a hospital environment. Depending upon the child’s needs, restraint or sedation may need to be performed in a hospital setting.
Once you have found a recommended pediatric dentist, visit the practice and try to meet that dentist in person. Find out if the office accepts your dental insurance plan, and look for a convenient location near your home or child’s school. The dentist should be a member of the American Dental Association, as well as the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and have specialized training in treating children. Upon visiting the dental office, look for a fun, bright waiting room filled with toys, games, and furniture appropriate for younger patients. This is a sign that the office caters to the needs of young children. During your appointment, the dentist should involve your child in his or her dental health and teach them how to properly brush and floss their teeth. As the parent, you should be asked for a complete medical and dental history for your child, and informed about your child’s tooth development. The dentist should be thorough but gentle when examining your child’s mouth, and make the exam a fun experience that removes any apprehension or fear.
Children who have a positive experience at the dentist are more likely to be happy, healthy patients. Finding a skilled pediatric dentist near you can set your child up for a beautiful smile and prevent costly dental work in the future.