Choosing the right dentist for your child is crucial for their dental health. As the parent of a baby or toddler, you understand the importance of keeping your kid’s teeth clean. Children are more prone to cavities and other dental issues than adults, so getting them established with a dentist early is key.
But what makes a good pediatric dentist? You may even be wondering how to find a pediatric dentist in the first place. Fox Kids Dentistry & Orthodontics is here to clear the confusion. Read on to learn how to find a dentist for your child in five easy steps.
1. Understand the Differences Between a Pediatric Dentist and Family Dentist
The first step is understanding the differences between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist. While both types of dentists can provide great results, your best bet may be to choose a pediatric dentist who you child can grow with into their teen years and beyond. As you’ll discover, your choice could influence your child’s view of oral hygiene for the rest of their life.
When considering family dentists, know that they:
- Provide general and diverse dental services.
- Work with patients of all ages.
- Offer the chance for you and your child to visit the same dentist together.
- Give your child the opportunity to visit the same dentist from childhood through adulthood.
These are valid reasons for choosing a family dentist for your child. But you also need to know a bit more about pediatric dentists. When making your choice, know that a pediatric dentist:
- Receives two to year years of extra schooling beyond dental school to specialize in children’s dentistry.
- Has experience working with patients from infancy through adolescence.
- Uses smaller tools suited for children.
- Has experience and training working with children of all temperaments and personality types.
- Caters the office to be kid-friendly.
Pediatric dentists will work hard to help your child feel comfortable. This can establish dental care in a positive light for your child, which they will carry into adulthood. If you’ve decided a pediatric dentist is right for your child, the next step is to do some research.
2. Do Some Research
Doing research online to find pediatric dentists near you is your next step. It’s impossible to visit every pediatric dentist in your area to learn more about them. Instead, head to the internet to begin your research. This could be time-consuming, but it’s a helpful step to learn more about your options. Make sure you find out all the relevant information you need. This will inform you, as well as help you narrow down your options.
Here are some factors you should check for:
- Location: Is the dentist’s office near you? Long rides may result in your child being anxious. A shorter trip can help ease into those first dental visits.
- Hours: When does the dentist see patients? Will those hours fit into your family’s schedule?
- Insurance: Visiting the dentist could be expensive. Make sure you find out if the dentist will accept your insurance. This can help reduce stress as well as costs.
- Biography: Learn more about the dentist by reading their biography page on their website. This can tell you more about the doctor’s personality, backstory and some of their qualifications.
3. Check Qualifications and Experience
The pediatric dentist you choose needs to be one you can trust. They should have certifications to back up their claims of experience, education and special training. That’s why the next step in your search for a dentist is to check their qualifications. You should make sure the two following organizations have granted official certifications to any pediatric dental office you consider:
- American Board of Pediatric Dentistry (ABPD): After a prospective dentist finishes their years of schooling, they can become board certified. They achieve this by passing the written and oral exam administered by the ABPD. This is the highest-level examination of its type and represents a dentist’s commitment to patient care and lifelong learning. Fox Kids Dentistry & Orthodontics has ABPD-certified a pediatric dentist, Dr. Dana Fox
- American Board of Orthodontics (ABO): If you want your child’s dentist to be their future orthodontist, you should make sure they have a certification from the ABO. This shows that the orthodontist has pursued and completed further learning to offer exceptional orthodontic care to patients. You can have peace of mind knowing your child’s dentist can provide quality orthodontic care if the need arises and is board-certified. At Fox Kids Dentistry & Orthodontics, we also have an ABO-certified orthodontist, Dr. Paul Fox.
4. Read Reviews and Ask Around for Recommendations
To help narrow your search further, you need to get some reviews and opinions about the pediatric dentists you’re considering. Parents of current and former patients provide a source for honest reviews. People who love their child’s pediatric dentist will share what sets them apart. Unsatisfied parents will give you the truth about their experiences.
Asking other parents is a great idea, especially if the other parents are your friends, co-workers or acquaintances. You should also read reviews online. Since these reviewers can remain anonymous, they won’t hide their grievances. Make sure to check third-party review sites because dentists may only post positive reviews on their websites.
5. Schedule a Consultation
The final step in choosing your child’s pediatric dentist is scheduling a consultation. This is where all your other research pays off as you and your child meet the dentist for the first time. This will give you a first impression of the dentist and the environment, which is essential in making your decision. You’ll know by the end of your consultation if that dentist is right for your child’s dental care. If you feel great about your visit, you may have found your child’s dentist. It’s also essential that your child feels good about the visit.
Make Sure It Is a Safe and Welcoming Environment
Your child’s experience during the consultation will be the determining factor in your decision-making process. Here are some questions to ask yourself during your consultation:
- Does your child feel comfortable throughout the consultation?
- Does the dentist seem honest, organized and competent?
- Is the environment child-friendly?
- Does the doctor treat your child like an individual instead of just a patient?
You and your child should feel like family throughout your consultation. See if the doctor has conversations with your child and explains things in a way they can understand. If your child has an enjoyable time throughout the visit and is excited about going back, then you’ve found your child’s pediatric dentist.
Choose Fox Kids Dentistry & Orthodontics for Your Child’s Dental Needs
If you want a pediatric dentist you can trust in Portland, Oregon, Fox Kids Dentistry & Orthodontics is the dental office for your child. Our doctors, Dr. Paul and Dana Fox, have lived most of their lives in Portland. They understand the dental needs of the children in the community and commit to providing exceptional service. As parents of two children, they empathize with your desire to care for your child’s dental health. They’ll prove their care for your child with every visit.
We hope you’ll trust us with your child’s dental needs. Contact us today to learn more about how we can provide a caring and safe dental environment for your child. We look forward to meeting you and your family!