5 Characteristics to Look for in a Pediatric Dentist
Choosing any health care provider for your child is a big decision. You want the best care possible for your kids, and picking the best pediatric dentist can make a big difference in their young lives. In a city like Austin with countless dentists from which to choose, the decision can seem overwhelming! Here are five questions you should ask to help you find that perfect pediatric dentist to support your child’s smile from birth all the way through their teens and beyond.
1. DO THEY PROVIDE THE SERVICES YOU MAY NEED?
Busy parents know that life doesn’t always go according to plan. That’s why it’s especially important to ensure that a pediatric dentist offers services you may need. These services can include:
- Emergency dentistry
From a knocked-out tooth at a baseball game to a sudden midnight toothache and everything in between, dental emergencies happen – and not always during normal business hours. Finding an Austin family dentistry practice that offers services to handle these kinds of emergencies will provide you with peace of mind and save you a lot of stress if any of these events do occur.
- Payment or financing plans
Just as we never know what will happen next in a busy family, we can’t always plan for unexpected bills. Choosing a dentist that offers payment plans is a great idea to help save you stress when unexpected costs accrue from dental emergencies or procedures.
- Orthodontic services or consultations
Not every dentist offers orthodontic services, and not all children who need orthodontia are teens. It’s a good idea to find a pediatric dentist who can offer orthodontic services or consultations to be prepared for any needs that your child may have.
- Sedation dentistry or options for anxious children
The dentist can be frightening for young children. Not only is it important, therefore, to find a child-friendly dentist with an appropriate environment and staff, but also to find a practice with options like sedation dentistry for anxious children. Children with dental anxiety, particularly very young children, sometimes need sedation in order to keep them safe and comfortable, which affects both their experience and outcomes.
2. DOES THE DENTIST AND THEIR STAFF HAVE APPROPRIATE TRAINING?
Would you take your child to a geriatrician? Of course not, as these doctors specialize in the unique needs of the elderly. Just as you’d instead choose a pediatrician, it’s important that you find a pediatric dentist who has the appropriate specialization and training to qualify them to treat kids of all ages. Family dentistry is different from general dentistry, and choosing a dentist office that specializes in all ages ensures that your kids will receive appropriate care. Always ask if the dentist has received the extra two years of training required to treat children and if the staff is appropriately trained to give the very best experience possible to kids.
3. DOES THE DENTIST ALLOW CONSULTATIONS AND INTRODUCTORY TOURS?
Pediatric dentists understand that parents are looking not only for high-quality facilities and services but also ones that are the right fit for their child. You should be able to schedule a visit to a pediatric dental office to see if it’s right for you and your family. These visits can be included in an initial consultation, or sometimes parents can simply call to schedule a tour or visit without an appointment.
4. PLAN AHEAD – DO THEY OFFER GREAT CARE FOR TEENS?
When you’re finding that perfect Austin dentist for your child, as tough as it may be to think ahead to their teen years, you’ll be glad you did! For just about any patient, continuity of care (seeing the same doctor over time) is a positive thing. Some research even shows that seeing the same doctor over time results in better health outcomes.
Both you and your child can benefit greatly from sticking with a trusted dentist from childhood to adolescence, and in pediatric dentistry, this can be even more important when kids transition to teens and adopt the unique dental needs of adolescents such as orthodontia and changes in oral hygiene.
5. HOW DID YOUR FIRST VISIT GO?
Above all, remember that your choice of a dentist for your child can be made at any time. Once the first visit is done, ask yourself: how did it go? Are you satisfied with the environment? Were the staff appropriate and kid-friendly? Was the dentist gentle and thorough? Was your child encouraged (if appropriately-aged) to support their own dental health with good brushing and flossing habits? All of these questions should help you decide whether or not you’ve found the right fit for your family.
We know that finding the perfect family dentist is a big decision. As South Austin Dental Studio, we’re proud to offer high-quality, friendly, and expert care to patients of all ages. Our family dentistry of South Austin practice has been around for over 30 years, and we’re proud to be a community-trusted provider for all our families’ dental needs. For more information or to schedule a visit, contact us today!