Even some adults find dental exams and procedures scary, so it’s only natural for a child to feel nervous about visiting a dentist. As a parent, you’ll need to help your child move past any fear or concern and understand the importance of dental health. But you can only do that with the support of a competent and considerate dentist. The good news is that if your child develops good chemistry with a dentist, you won’t have to worry about their dental appointments ever again.
Here are a few crucial tips to follow so you can find the right dentist for your child.
Check Background and Accreditation
With a quick online search, you’ll find many dentists that work in your area. Start by checking their background, including studies and area of expertise. Do they hold accreditation? Are they a member of professional dentistry organizations and associations? Do they have experience working with children? Your safest bet is looking directly at pediatric clinics, where vast experience with children is a given. The American Association of Pediatric Dentistry has a database of certified practitioners. To find a local pediatric dentist, you can browse the listings by zip code on the AAPD’s official website.
Identify Your Child’s Needs
Although many dentists are excellent with children even without having specialized in pediatric care, pediatric dentists have additional training that makes them well-versed in child psychology and development. Thus, a pediatric dentist is much more equipped to work with children that require gentle, compassionate care. They’re able to work around your child’s fears and concerns, leading to a more positive experience. If you have a small child, a child with special needs, or if your child has expressed fear and anxiety about dental visits, you need the thorough expertise of a pediatric dentist.
Consider the Clinic’s Atmosphere
Ideally, your child should feel relaxed and comfortable the moment you walk together through the doors of the dentist’s office. However, most dental clinics have a neutral look that makes one think of a hospital. This can make your child feel that scary things will happen once he sits on the dentist’s chair. So, choose a dentist office for kids with a welcoming staff and a relaxing, inviting atmosphere.
Ask for Recommendations
Ask your family, friends, and acquaintances with children whether they have any suggestions. A family member or a friend can give you detailed information and tell you about their direct, personal experience with a dentist. This is much more valuable than reading anonymous reviews online. Perhaps you can ask your child’s pediatrician, your family doctor, or your own dentist for recommendations.
Ask Questions Directly
Conducting online research is useful, but it’s not enough to form an accurate opinion about something. If you want more nuanced and detailed information before scheduling an appointment with a dentist, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call the office directly. You can discuss your child’s needs, get a feel about how welcoming and accommodating the staff is, and get the chance to ask some specific questions.
Do you prefer to stay with your child during exams or procedures? If yes, don’t forget to ask about the dentist’s policies. Some actually insist that you stay with your child, while others do not allow the parent to be present. If you have a specific preference, be sure to discuss this topic with the dentist before making the appointment. Also, ask the office how they handle emergencies as this is an important aspect.
Meet the Dentist
The only effective way to tell whether a dentist is right for your child is to see the dentist at work. Conducting thorough research in advance is important, but only a consultation can tell you whether there’s a good basis for a long-term dental relationship. So, once you’ve found a dentist or a clinic that you feel confident about, schedule an appointment.
During the consultation, notice your child’s reaction. Does your child look comfortable or nervous? Is the dentist gentle and smiling? Does the procedure or exam feel rushed or rather thorough? Does the dentist encourage your child to talk? If both you and your child see the visit as a positive experience, this is a clear sign that you can return safely.
Finding the right dentist for your child will take some time, but you should treat this with the utmost importance. Children who have a pleasant experience at the dentist from an early age are more likely to give proper consideration to dental health.
This post has been sponsored by Roundshark Ltd
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