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Factors to Consider When Choosing a Dentist for Kids

June 9, 2022

by aaron smith, guest contributor

Navigating doctor’s visits can be a challenge with children. Vaccinations, the poking, the prodding, the bright lights - all of this can overwhelm our little ones easily. We look to pediatricians for their expertise and knowledge to help our children in moments of urgency and need. So when it comes to dentists, we should expect the same attention, care, and expertise.

But what are some of the factors that we, as parents, should take into consideration when selecting a children’s dentist? Navigating the world of children’s dentistry isn’t quite the same as locating a pediatrician. Dentistry comes with its own unique challenges for children, and the seasoned professionals in the field are trained to quell the anxieties of our little ones.

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1. Know The Difference

Family dentists and general dentists provide dental care for all ages, not just children. This affects not only their approach to handling patients but the overall atmosphere of the clinic and office space. Family and general dentists will tend to have a more generic, typical-styled office space, rather than offering fun, cozy, and kid-friendly décor. Some children’s dentists offer video games and movies to help settle in their young guests - that atmosphere matters! 

2. Consider Education and Experience 

After locating some of the children’s dentists in your area, research their education and experience. Where did they study? How many years have they worked in the field? Do they have any special training? Make sure they’ve actually trained as a children’s dentist and aren’t just advertising themselves as such.

3. Read the Reviews

Don’t shy away from the internet. Use its resources and check the reviews of children’s dentists in your area. Don’t let just one review influence your decision. Take into consideration several reviews and weigh the pros and cons of clinics in your area. Online reviews speak to the dentist’s experience and how they accommodate children and children with special needs. Perhaps check in with local friends and hear their personal feedback about their child’s experience at the dentist. Word-of-mouth is a helpful way of weeding out the good versus the bad.

4. Book a Consultation

During the consultation, do not hesitate to ask questions - that is, after all, what these consultations are designed for. It is your opportunity to understand the treatment options available to your child and the special services offered to meet your child’s needs. Focus on your child’s comfort levels during the consultation, too. Are they anxious, or have they found comfort at the dentist’s office? Have those video games and movies distracted them from their fears of the dentist? Has the dentist’s bedside manner reassured them? Don’t just pay attention to the dentist. Is the staff welcoming and helpful? Is the clinic’s design and ambiance soothing to your child, or are there bright lights and noises that trigger their anxiety? Consultations are a solid litmus test that will help you gauge your child’s reaction to the dentist. Definitely don’t skip this step! 

5. Know Their Services

Choosing a dentist that specializes in infant, child, and adolescent dentistry means that they offer specialized treatments catered to the developing oral health of our little ones. Their experience in this field also means that they are equipped with knowledge and training in certain areas that will help them navigate the nuances when working with a younger audience. These dentists may have a strong background in:

  • child oral trauma 
  • child psychology 
  • child-related pharmacology 
  • radiology 
  • diagnostic and surgical procedures 
  • special needs care 
  • general anesthesia and conscious sedation

6. Payment Options

When you’ve located a children’s dentist, it’s important to know what insurance plans they accept and what financing plans they offer to patients. Some offices even offer free visits for children under a certain age, so do your research thoroughly! You might be able to save a few bucks if you pick the right doctor. Some children require specialized treatments that may require a payment plan. Contact the clinic’s administrator to understand pricing and how payments are handled. 

7. Business Hours 

The field of children’s dentistry operates within the unique schedules of children and their parents; therefore, it’s imperative that you understand the dentist’s scheduling to see if it meets the availability of your family. Does the dentist’s office offer extended hours before school or after? Do they open on Saturdays? Contact the clinic’s administrator to get a clear understanding of their business hours. 

Finding the right dentist for your child shouldn’t be a challenge. By equipping yourself with the right knowledge, you’ll be able to choose the best candidate to care for your child. Finding the right dentist will help ensure your child’s oral health is maintained throughout their adolescence. Trained and experienced children’s dentists know how to navigate the colorful personalities of our little ones. Maintaining good oral health is essential to maintaining overall general health - don’t overlook the importance of your child’s dental care. 

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