How to Choose a Pediatric Dentist
Finding a pediatric dentist that takes good care of your child’s teeth while making the experience relaxed and fun sets the stage for a lifetime of healthy teeth. Use our checklist to help you find the right dentist for your family.
Finding pediatric dentists
Where can you find a pediatric dentist and how can you be sure they have the right training?
- Ask for recommendations from friends and family.
- Ask for a referral from your pediatrician.
- Search local websites or magazines for recommendations.
- You will find pediatric dentists working in medical centers, private practices and dental schools.
- Ask about training: A pediatric dentist has two additional years of residency training for babies, kids, teens and kids with special needs.
Care provided to your child
Your child will see a pediatric dentist from infancy through adolescence. Here is what kind of care you can expect:
- Oral exams and risk assessment for cavities for infants.
- Knowledge of dealing with dental habits, such as thumb sucking, teeth grinding or pacifier use.
- Repair of tooth cavities or other tooth defects.
- Preventive dental care, including cleaning, sealants and fluoride treatment.
- Assessment of normal tooth development.
- Assessment of the need for orthodontics to straighten teeth or correct improper bite.
- Manage and prevent gum diseases, including periodontal disease and gingivitis.
- Manage dental and oral conditions, including short frenulae and ulcers.
- Care of knocked-out teeth, fractured teeth or displaced teeth.
Parent and child education
It is important your dentist and his/her staff educate you and your child on proper dental care at home. Your pediatric dentist should talk to you about the following:
- Education on how diet and drinks affect teeth.
- Educating parents on the proper care of infant or baby teeth.
- Educating kids and teens on the proper care of teeth.
- Demonstration on the proper way to brush and floss.
- Education on the proper handling of knocked-out teeth or fractured teeth.
- Education for the parents on when they can expect their child’s permanent teeth to come in.
The pediatric dentist offices should be catering to children, with colorful paint and hands-on toys in the waiting room to make the experience fun. Your dentist should also come across as friendly and welcoming.
- Is the dentist office kid-friendly?
- Are the instruments appropriate for your child’s mouth?
- Is the office staff friendly and accessible?
- Is the dentist friendly and accessible?
- Do the dentist and staff explain to your child what to expect?
- Is the atmosphere friendly and positive?
- How does your dentist respond to a scared or crying child?