As parents, we always want what’s best for our children and dentistry is no exception. Compared to general dentists, pediatric dentists have a better understanding of dental care for children because they have specialized education and training for it, which is why many parents opt for a pediatric dentist over a regular dentist. When it comes to choosing the right pediatric dentist for your child, however, there are a lot of matters to take into consideration. To get you started on you and your child’s journey toward lifelong dental health, here are the most important questions to ask yourself.
What’s the office environment like?
It’s important for children to establish a “dental home” early on. This is a place where they feel comfortable and safe enough to return and ask questions about their dental health for years to come. Whether they’re aware of it or not, the office environment plays a big factor in their ability to relax and even have fun when visiting the dentist. Going somewhere unfamiliar that is large and filled with strange equipment can be very daunting, especially for younger children. Most pediatric dentists decorate their offices, so their inviting and kid friendly. Simply seeing a few familiar toys or a favorite movie playing overhead can have a huge effect on a child.
The office environment should also be safe for kids. That means potentially dangerous equipment should be well out of reach and the premise should be clean. Unlike other dentists, most pediatric specialists have special kid-sized tools that are better suited for children. They also have fun rewards for kids at the end of appointments, like kid’s toothbrushes or balloons. As trivial as details seem, they have a powerful influence on a child’s experience at the dentist.
Is your pediatric dentist board certified?
On top of regular dental school, pediatric dentists have to complete 2 – 3 years of specialty training working with infants, children, and those with special health needs. Afterward, they have the option to become board-certified to demonstrate their continued pursuit of proficiency in the field. Board certification involves passing a comprehensive written and clinical examination.
While it’s not necessary to become board certified to practice pediatric dentistry, you can be assured that a board certified pediatric dentist is on top of the best preventative and restorative procedures and stays up-to-date with their dentistry training. Often, it can be worth taking the extra step to make sure their pediatric dentist is board-certified. At New Generation Dentistry, Dr. Sara has taken the extra effort to complete her board certification because she is dedicated to providing her patients with the best care possible.
Are you comfortable leaving your child on their own with the pediatric dentist?
No matter how incredible your dentist’s skills are, bad patient care can make an entire experience negative. Kids can be especially distraught when faced with unsympathetic or even rude practitioners and staff members. If your child isn’t treated with respect or kindness at the pediatric dentist’s office, they may develop an aversion to visiting the dentist. Dental anxiety can last for years and ultimately result in bad oral health. Eventually, your child will grow up and be in charge of their own dental care. Being afraid of the dentist early on in life can lead patients to avoid the dentist as adults, too. That’s why parents should take the time to make sure their children are treated well by the dentist and staff.
Does your pediatric dentist offer the services you need?
Check whether your pediatric dentist has all the services your child needs. It can be a hassle being referred to a new specialist every few months for another issue. Some of the most popular dental services requested for children are:
- Dental sealants
- Dental exam
- Dental cleaning
- Dental fillings
- Sedation dentistry
- Nutritional counseling
- Infant oral care guidance
Though regular dentists may provide the same services, pediatric dentists are trained to administer them to children specifically. Babies’ and children’s mouths are different from adult mouths and it takes an experienced doctor to successfully operate on them. Pediatric dentists also study behavior management and communication with children, so they can make the experience as smooth and easy as possible.
How long do you want to stay with your pediatric dentist?
The great thing about pediatric dentists is that they are trained to treat their patients at every stage of growth and development. They can treat children from infancy to young adulthood. Most patients can see their pediatric dentist until they’re 18 or even longer if they need a little time to find a new dentist. Ideally, the relationship between a provider and patient should be strong and positive, so the patient is motivated to make good dental care choices and see their pediatric dentist regularly.
At New Generation Dentistry, we have a pediatric dentist and general dentist, so your child can easily transition to a general dentist once they turn 18. Dr. Sara is seasoned pediatric dentist in Mission Viejo, who loves working with kids. It’s her mission to provide her patients with lifelong oral health with quality dental care and patient service. If you are interested in booking an appointment with her for your child, give us a call!