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Dean George is the Marketing Specialist and Content Creator for Dental Insurance
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4 steps to finding the right pediatric dentist

Mar 01, 2013

Pediatric dental offices should be kid friendly
Photo source:

Wow, what a whirlwind kind of a month it’s been in the smiles business! Thanks to all our loyal readers and those buying dental plans for keeping us on our toes. Today, we’re going to wrap it up with the final installment of our February series on pediatric dentistry. 

Selecting a pediatric dentist is a huge step in seeing that your child’s oral health and dental hygiene gets off to a good start. Did you know that pediatric dentists have to undergo another two years of residency training after they complete four years of dental school? In residency they learn how to provide treatment on infants, children, teens and special needs children.

How do you find a good pediatric dentist and what should you consider when seeing if a dentist is right for your child?

Seek & You Shall Find - A good place to start is to ask your pediatrician for a referral.  Chances are they can provide a couple of local names for you to contact as you set sail on the Kid Dental voyage.

The American Association of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) has a pediatric dentist search tool that can help you find a dentist in your area by simply entering your zip code.  The directory will display names and contact information of pediatric dentists who are members in good standing with the AAPD.

Friends and family may also be excellent sources for recommendations. That is, unless you live next to the Ozzy Osbornes or your crazy Uncle Joe who insists the only tooth procedure he ever needed involved fishing line and a sturdy door knob.

Tender Loving Care - In order for your mini-me to have sparkling pearlies that will make you the envy at family reunions, regular dental visits are a must. During oral exams your dentist will do a risk assessment for cavities, provide preventive dental care like sealants, fluoride treatment and cleanings, and ensure that your child has normal tooth development.

And let’s not forget in the world of bouncy houses, skateboarding, RSVP tea parties gone awry, foam sword fighting and general horse play, accidents still happen and your child’s dentist may be called on one day to treat a dislocated tooth or knocked out teeth.

You & Your Shadow Remember that having a good pediatric dentist is not just for your child’s benefit, but for you as a parent.  Over the years you’ll consult your child’s dentist on a number of educational issues: how diet and drinks affect their baby teeth and permanent teeth, instruction on how to brush and floss and how often, how to care for baby teeth, and when to expect your child’s permanent teeth or if braces may be needed.

And let’s not forget consulting your pediatric dentist about how to handle your child’s questions about the Tooth Fairy and professional advice on negotiating a proper exchange rate with the nocturnal winged wonder.  But seriously, with important matters like your child’s oral health it only makes sense that both you and your child feel comfortable with the person providing dental instruction for you both.

Atmosphere & Ambience Good pediatric dentists make sure their offices look more like Sesame Street or Thomas the Train’s Sodor Island rather than Nightmare on Elm Street or Little Dental Shop of Horrors.

That’s important because little folks often have big imaginations, especially when it comes to dreaded visits to the dentist or doctor's office. Things to consider:

• Is the dentist office kid-friendly with an atmosphere that is pleasant and positive?
• Is the dentist friendly and gentle?
• Is the dental staff reassuring and do they explain to your child what to expect?
• How does the dentist react to a child that is scared or crying?
• Is the treatment room soundproofed against screams and anguished wails for mercy? (Just kidding – wanted to make sure you were still reading.)

Aside from taking your child for regular dental visits, remember that good oral habits like brushing twice daily and regular flossing are acquired early in life. If kids see their parents doing what they encourage the kids to do, it reinforces the desired behavior. It’s much easier to instruct your child to do what you say if YOU do what you say.

Back in the day they called it, “Practice what you preach.”  I only know that because I read it somewhere and not because my next birthday I’ll be…well, will you look at the time? I’ve got to go but thanks for reading Agent Straight-Talk and remember: “A smile is a universal welcome understood everywhere by everyone.”

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Copyright 2013, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC©

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