Say 'AHHH'

How to select a dentist.

Remember when children kicked and screamed their way to the dentist? Not anymore. The trip is deemed a treat by children who sing songs, play video games and learn to brush along with their favorite cartoon characters. Pediatric dental offices have more in common with a modern playland than an old-fashioned doctor’s office.

Pediatric Dentists: The First Stop For Children’s Dental Care

  • Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. They are specially trained for children’s unique dental health needs.
  • Their professional education includes two to three years of specialized study after becoming a dentist, emphasizing child psychology, growth and development.
  • Infants, preschoolers, children and adolescents each need different approaches in dealing with their behavior, guiding their dental growth and development and helping them avoid future dental problems. A pediatric dentist is best qualified to meet these needs.
  • To help a child stay totally healthy, the pediatric dentist often works with pediatricians, other physicians and other dental specialists. All children, whether healthy, chronically ill, disabled or mentally impaired, are served best through this team approach.
  • The specialty is becoming even more important as a result of technical advances in medicine and dentistry and the increased populations of children with chronic diseases and congenital problems.
  • Pediatric dentists take a large number of continuing education courses each year to provide the latest and best oral care treatment for your child.

Taking Action: If You Are Unhappy With Your Child’s Dentist

  1. Speak up. Dissatisfaction in dentistry is usually a problem of communication, not clinical care. If you did not like— or did not understand— some aspect of your child’s care, talk to the pediatric dentist about it. You deserve to be heard, and the dentist deserves the opportunity to listen. Often a parent’s concerns can be resolved through a heart-to-heart talk.
  2. Consider a second opinion. You should be confident about your child’s dental treatment. If a second opinion will help you feel more comfortable, then you should certainly seek one.
  3. Call your local dental society. The dental profession offers a free service called peer review. Your case can be carefully reviewed by a highly qualified board, typically consisting of dentists, hygienists and members of the public.

Questions to Ask to Choose the Right Dentist For Your Child Before the Visit

  • Does the dentist have special training or interest in treating children?
  • Is the dentist a member of the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry?
  • Is the dental office set up for children? For example, does it offer toys, books, games or child-sized furniture?
  • How does the dental office deal with emergencies?
  • Is the office conveniently located near your home or child’s school?
  • Does the practice accept your dental benefit plan?

After the Visit

  • Was your child seen promptly?
  • Were you asked for a complete medical and dental history for your child?
  • Was the dentist gentle but thorough when examining your child’s mouth?
  • Did the dentist or staff talk to your child, encouraging his involvement in dental health?
  • Were you informed about your child’s tooth development, the causes and prevention of dental disease, and appropriate dental care at home?
  • Were your questions treated with concern and respect?
  • Was the visit positive for your child?