Did you know that a child should start seeing a dentist regularly by the time their first tooth comes in, or they’ve celebrated their first birthday? Although this may sound a little early, taking them to a dentist at this time will get them used to the sounds and sights in the office and show them that dental visits are not scary and can even be fun, and it will help your child have a healthy smile for life.
But how do you know what to look for when researching Arlington pediatric dentists for children to find the right one for them and their needs? Here are six tips to keep in mind.
1. Know the Difference Between a Pediatric Dentist and a General Dentist
What is a pediatric dentist, and why should you choose one for your child’s dental care versus a general dentist? While any dentist can treat children, pediatric dentists have received at least an additional two years of specialty training beyond dental school focused on treating young patients. This training also includes treating patients with special needs, such as children with autism or limited mobility.
Their practice usually focuses on only treating patients who range in age from infancy to adolescence. This means a pediatric office tends to have amenities geared towards kids to make them feel more comfortable during visits. The waiting room may have games, toys, and books to keep them busy before their appointment and the treatment areas may have entertainment screens they can watch while receiving dental care.
Pediatric dentists are also trained in administering sedation dentistry to help children relax while having dental work done.
This doesn’t mean you should rule out general family dentists when choosing one for your child, but you may find a pediatric dentist can better address their specific needs.
2. Search For Dentists and Ask Others For Recommendations
A good first step when researching dentists for your child is to ask other parents for recommendations. Ask your social media network who they go to for dental care and how they like the staff and office. If you don’t know many parents, join a Facebook group for parents in your area and put the word out that you’re searching for a child-friendly dental office.
If you don’t have any recommendations to go on, simply conducting an online search for pediatric dentists in Arlington should return several results. Your child’s pediatrician should also be able to provide you with a few suggestions.
Another good source is the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry website. You can search for Arlington area pediatric dentists by putting in your zip code.
3. Read Reviews and Patient Testimonials
Once you’ve narrowed down a list of potential dental offices, read up on their online reviews, taking note of those left by parents. Just keep in mind that one negative review out of many glowing ones doesn’t necessarily mean you should rule out that dentist. However, if the feedback is overwhelmingly negative, keep looking.
4. Check Out Their Website
A dentist’s website should provide a thorough list of the dental services they provide, such as fillings, sealants, and cleanings. If they’re geared towards children, you want to make sure they come across as friendly and welcoming. Their site should explain their approach to pediatric dental care and how they help their young patients feel at ease during visits.
Some pediatric dental offices also offer orthodontics services for children. This may be an important thing to consider if you suspect your child needs braces or another teeth straightening solution. Having general dental and orthodontics services available at the same practice can offer a lot of convenience for busy parents.
5. Schedule a Consultation
When you’ve found a dentist or two that you feel is a good fit for your child, schedule a consultation with them. No treatment will be done during this initial appointment. This is a chance for your child’s oral health to be accessed and also to see how the staff and dentist conduct themselves and if your child is comfortable with their approach.
A good pediatric dental office strives to make dental visits positive and relaxing. The staff will show kids the equipment and explain to them what they’re going to do during the visit. Language should be age-appropriate for kids to understand; dentists will often describe their equipment and the treatments using terminology that is non-threatening.
The tone from start to finish should be friendly and encouraging to help kids have a great experience in the dental chair.
6. Other Factors to Consider
When choosing a pediatric dentist, you may also want to consider the following:
- Is the office available after hours and on weekends to treat a knocked-out tooth and other dental emergencies?
- Is the office location near your child’s school or home?
- Does the office accept your child’s dental health coverage, or offer payment plans?
Overall, you want a dental team that provides gentle care for your child and offers convenience to you.
Researching Pediatric Dentists For Children is Well Worth the Extra Time
Researching pediatric dentists for children in the Arlington area may take a little time and work on your part, but it’s completely worth it. Taking your child to a dentist they feel completely at ease with helps them become responsible adults who will always take their oral care seriously.
Here at Park Place Dentistry and Orthodontics, our goal is to provide excellent, compassionate care to infants, children, adolescents, and individuals with special needs. If you’re searching for an Arlington pediatric dentist, request an appointment for your child using our online form.