It’s time for your child’s first dental visit! This is a critical moment for your child, whose impression of dental care will be made by their early experiences in a dentist’s office. You want to make sure that your kiddo and their teeth will be in the best possible hands, so finding a good dentist will be important. Follow these guidelines to make sure you’re finding the best possible fit for your family!
1. Stick with a specialist
If this is your child’s first-ever visit and they’re still quite little, finding someone who specializes in children’s dental care will be critical. While many general dentists do offer pediatric services, they’re not typically prepared for a patient who may be fidgety, fussy, or struggle with following directions. A pediatric dentist will be prepared with plenty of strategies for keeping your baby happy while they get their dental exam, and will have years of practice working with all kinds of kids!
2. Check in beforehand
If you have any special concerns about your child’s dental needs, make sure you bring those up before making the appointment. If your child has special behavioral concerns, such as autism, ADHD, or developmental delays, make sure your child’s dentist is prepared and trained and how to work with those children. If you have medical needs that may be relevant to your child’s dental needs, also make sure the office is aware of those ahead of time and is prepared to address them.
3. Get recommendations
Word of mouth can really help you out! It can be hard to weed out the best dentists from those who aren’t going to be a good fit for your child. Start by asking for recommendations from your child’s pediatrician. They’re going to be well versed in the dentists in your area, and will also likely have heard through their patient’s families who has been great to work with and who hasn’t. After discussing with your pediatrician, also check online reviews or ask around to other parents to see if they have any glowing recommendations – or words of warning!
4. Check the credentials
Before making your appointment, check out the credentials that the office holds. The office should be an accredited member of the American Dental Association or the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and preferably the dentist should have many years of experience working in pediatric dentistry. Also make sure that you double check that their office is in network for your insurance plan before visiting!
5. Don’t be scared to switch
Even when a dentist is perfect on paper and comes highly recommended, sometimes it simply doesn’t work out. If you don’t feel completely happy with your visit, don’t be afraid to switch providers and take your child to a different dentist next time! Taking the time now to be thorough and find one that both you and your child are completely happy with is going to pay off in the long run when you have a reliable dentist that you trust to work with throughout your children’s lives.