How to Choose a Pediatric Dentist
We all want the best for our children, and dental care is no exception. Finding the best dentist for your children may involve the search for a pediatric dentist. While not all children need to see a pediatric dentist (many do really well under the care of a family dentist), some children will benefit from the additional training and skills of a pediatric dentist.
Who Should See a Pediatric Dentist?
A board-certified pediatric dentist completes more than two years of additional education and training after achieving a dental degree. This training aims to equip a pediatric dentist to treat all children and patients with special needs. One of the most important aspects of a pediatric dentistry residency is the training in sedation. Often young children require sedation in order to tolerate the dental procedures necessary to restore their mouths to complete health. Pediatric dentists typically work closely with hospitals to provide general anesthesia for outpatient dental care for children.
Because pediatric dentists do not see healthy adult patients, they typically gear everything in the office toward children including office design and décor. They want children to feel comfortable the moment they walk in the practice doors.
A large part of pediatric dentistry is behavior management in order to get a fearful child to submit to dental treatment. Sedation is only necessary when a child is unable or unwilling to cooperate. The following are patients who would be great candidates for care by a pediatric dentist:
- Children under the age of four who need any dental treatment
- Children who need extensive dental treatment
- Children with mental or physical challenges that would make it difficult for them to tolerate dental treatment
- People with special mental of physical needs of all ages
- Children who are unwilling to cooperate with the dentist without the assistance of sedation
How to Find a Great Pediatric Dentist
If you feel that your children would benefit from the care of a pediatric dentist, there are several steps you can take in your search for the best one in your area. HINT – all Premier of Ohio Dentists are trained to work with children and can accommodate your scheduling needs to make the appointment comfortable for your child.
Ask Your General Dentist for a Referral
The first and simplest way to find a great pediatric dentist is to speak with your dentist. Most likely, your dentist has worked with multiple pediatric dentists in your area and can give you a referral to one with whom he or she has had good experiences. You can ask for the dentist’s top two or three recommendations so that you can explore further and make the decision on your own. Or you can simply ask for one referral and take the dentist’s word for it.
Ask Local Friends for a Recommendation
You can also reach out to your local community of parents with children of similar ages. Speak with your neighbors or children’s friends’ parents. You can ask for recommendations on social media sites like Facebook and Nextdoor.
You will need to keep in mind that everyone has a different perspective, and the recommendations could be conflicting (for example, one person may claim to have had a bad experience with a dentist who is another person’s absolute favorite). The best-case scenario is that you get multiple recommendations for the same pediatric dentist. A general consensus among your friends and neighbors is not likely to be wrong!
Ask a Local Orthodontist which Pediatric Dentists He or She Works With
Orthodontists are dental specialists who work closely with pediatric dentists and can vouch for the quality of their work. Even if you have never seen the orthodontist in your area, you can call and ask for a recommendation. Simply explain that you are looking for a great pediatric dentist for your children to see. The front office staff will know which pediatric dentists the orthodontist prefers and can give you one or two names as a recommendation.
Read Online Reviews
In this day and age of technology, you can find pretty much everything online. That includes the experiences other people have had with dental professionals. By reading reviews posted on various sites, you can get a feel for the overall quality of experience that patients have at a particular dental office.
We say “quality of experience” instead of “quality of care” for an important reason. Dentistry is unusual in that the patients rarely have any understanding of the quality of their actual dental care. For example, a dentist can provide perfect dental treatments that meet every clinical requirement for excellence and still get negative reviews. Perhaps the dentist was not friendly or seemed to be in a rush. So the experience might not have been wonderful, even though the actual dental work was. On the opposite side of the coin, a dentist may be extremely solicitous and di everything possible to make the patient comfortable, but the dental work is unacceptable. Rarely will patients know that a filling looks bad on a follow-up x-ray. They only know how they felt throughout the process.
We explain that so that you will understand that online reviews are not a reflection of the quality of work a dentist provides. They are, instead, a reflection of the experience the patient has. (The quality of work is something to ask your general dentist or specialist about.)
More Questions about Pediatric Dentistry?
Call your nearest Premier Dental of Ohio location today to schedule a consultation with one of our skilled dentists. We can refer you to a pediatric dentist or help you determine whether your child needs to see one at all.