Proper dental care starts early in life and if you have a child, you will want them to learn how to take good care of their teeth. Part of the equation involves finding a good pediatric dentist – a dentist who specializes in children’s dentistry.

A pediatric dentist receives additional training in comparison to a family dentist by spending two more years in residency training for babies, children, teenagers and special needs children. But how do you find the best one to care for your child’s dental needs?

Finding the right dentist for your child

Finding the best pediatric dentist for your child is not a decision to take lightly. When you consider that your child may see this dentist from a toddler right through until they are a young adult, you will want to spend some time on this.

There are a number of ways to do this including asking the people around you for recommendations. If your child is in school, ask teachers and parents of other students. Other family members can also be a great source of referrals.

Part of that homework of finding a good dentist for your child may involve searching online. There are many excellent sources available that can assist in your quest to locate a great pediatric dentist for your child. One such site is the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD) which has a search tool to help narrow down your choices.

What to look for in the pediatric dental office

The office setting of a pediatric dentist is very different to that of any other kind of dentist. You should see a kid-friendly reception area / waiting room / lobby. This could mean there will be size appropriate seating for little patients, as well as games and a play area. The colors of the walls and overall decor may be more appealing to children. The office staff may dress casually or have some feature or emblem that will be attractive to children, and they will be very friendly and will engage with children at the appropriate level.

The overall feeling from a pediatric dental office should be friendly, positive and bright. The dentist should be upbeat and happy to see your child and have the kind of personality that does not scare your child, but rather makes him or her look forward to future dental visits.

A pediatric dentist will be a part of your child’s life as they grow to adolescence. The care provided will change gradually to match the growth of your child and address any habits or changes in their oral health. The care your child will receive will include:

– Regular exams (including infant cavity risk assessments)
– Preventative dental care and habit treatment (teeth grinding, pacifier and thumb sucking)
– Tooth development assessment and orthodontics assessment (braces, etc.)
– Management and prevention of oral diseases
– Treatment of broken or damaged teeth

Once you find a pediatric dentist and your child has had his or her first visit, ask for their input as well. Their first visit may produce a level of anxiety, so you may have to assess whether or not to try another dentist. If you do persist and they are still not comfortable by this time, you may be left with no choice but to find a different children’s dentist.

If your child is not comfortable for some reason, it may be a sign that you will have to take seriously as sometimes patients and dentists just don’t match very well. You want your child to grow up with positive experiences from going to the dentist, so finding a dentist that your child is happy and comfortable with is very important.

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