According to the American Dental Association, or ADA, your child should have their first dental appointment soon after their first tooth appears, but no later than their first birthday.
But before you make an appointment for your child, there are several things you need to consider. Here are the seven questions you should ask before choosing a pediatric dentist.
1. Why Should You Choose a Pediatric Dentist in Arlington?
Just like you take your child to a pediatrician, you should look for a pediatric dentist.
In general, pediatric dentists will have several years of extra training in addition to their time at dental school. Pediatric dentists are knowledgable about a child’s teeth, mouth, and gums. This expertise can help ensure that your child will receive excellent care.
Pediatric dentists are also trained to help put children at ease. They know how to help calm them down during checkups and explain procedures in a way that makes sense to a child.
They can also answer specific questions you might about your child.
Maybe you’re wondering about how thumb sucking will affect your child’s dental health. Or maybe you want to know when your child should start using fluoride toothpaste. Either way, a pediatric dentist can offer their expertise.
2. Do They Take Dental Insurance?
It’s important to know what types of insurance your pediatric dentist takes.
Dental insurance can help make dental care affordable, but not every dentist accepts insurance. That’s why it’s crucial to ask this question before making an appointment.
It’s also important to ask whether the practice offers payment plans. This can help you budget for pediatric dentist fees. Monthly payments can help relieve much of the burden of paying any bills.
3. How Will Your Child Handle Their First Visit?
Every child will react differently to their first trip to the dentist. But knowing what to expect can help you get ready for the visit and prevent any meltdowns.
In general, a pediatric will check for cavities and any other possible issues, then clean your child’s teeth. They’ll also discuss family history. Afterward, expect to hear tips for healthy oral hygiene.
One great way to get your child used to the idea of the dentist is by reading children’s books on the topic.
4. Choosing a Pediatric Dentist? Ask About Their Reputation
When choosing a pediatric dentist, checking references and reviews is a crucial step for parents to take. It’s important to see where they went to school and what training they have received.
Be sure to read online reviews of the pediatric dentist you’re looking into. This can help alert you to any red flags or negative experiences with the dentist.
Asking for recommendations from other parents is a great way to get started.
One resource to turn to is the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. This can help you find a pediatric dentist and licensed member of the AAPD near you.
The AAPD also has a variety of information about pediatric oral health care and can be an important guide for new parents.
You can also call the practice to get more information about the pediatric dentist, like how long they’ve been practicing.
5. What Is the Office Environment Like?
Appearances aren’t everything. But finding a pediatric dentist with a welcoming office environment can go a long way toward making you and your child feel comfortable.
Going to the dentist doesn’t have to be something scary, or feel like you’re entering a sterile office environment. Instead, a bright, child-friendly office with toys in the waiting room can help keep your kid from feeling overwhelmed or scared.
Friendly staff members can also put your mind at ease and settle any nerves you might be feeling.
6. Can You Schedule a Free Consultation?
Doing research is an important step to choosing a pediatric dentist. But there’s only so much you can discover when you’re sitting in front of a computer screen. That’s why many pediatric dentists let new patients schedule free or low-cost consultations.
At a consultation, you and your child meet the dentist before an official appointment. This can help you prepare your child for their dental visit.
If this is an option, you can meet with the dentist to make sure they are a good fit for your family. Not only can you get a look at the office itself, but you can also get a feel for the dentist and see how they interact with your child.
You can also leave feeling assured that the pediatric dentist you’ve chosen makes you feel welcome and comfortable. You can also get a feel for whether the dentist is offering personalized care and paying special attention to your child’s needs.
A consultation is also a great time for any other questions you might have.
For example, you might want clarification about what to expect during the appointment. Or you could get advice on should be doing at home to establish healthy oral hygiene habits.
If something about your visit rubs you the wrong way, you’ll have time to find a new pediatric dentist and have peace of mind about your choice.
7. Where Is the Office Located and What Are Their Hours?
It’s important to consider reputation, references, and reviews when choosing a pediatric dentist. But it can also be helpful to check into a few practical things, too. For instance, where is the office located and what hours does it keep?
Choosing a pediatric dentist close to where you live can help working parents find time for their child’s first visit to the dentist.
If an office has longer hours and is open before work and after school, it can also make scheduling an appointment more convenient.
Find a Pediatric Dentist Today
If you ask these seven questions, choosing a pediatric dentist doesn’t have to be a challenge. Instead, you can make an informed decision and feel confident in the dentist you select.
Ready to learn more about pediatric dentists or want to find an Arlington pediatric dentist? Contact us today.