Selecting a Dentist for Your Child
Since dental procedures at a young age can sometimes significantly impact a child’s willingness to go to the dentist in later life, parents face a great responsibility in selecting a pediatric dentist for their children. Fortunately, the dental profession today has made great strides in developing a more compassionate and sensitive attitude towards the health care needs of children.
Here are five considerations parents may find helpful in evaluating pediatric dental services:
Professional Competency and Skill
Of course, parents need to ensure that a pediatric dental practice maintains the basic competency and skill required to care for teeth properly. You may want to double check with your provincial licensing agency to make sure that your child’s dentist possesses all of the professional qualifications and education you want in a dentist. Simply by visiting the regulatory agency’s website, it is possible to do online research to verify this information.
Also, ask your dentist about his or her professional accreditations. Does the dentist maintain a specialty in pediatric dentistry? Where was the residency completed? What professional memberships does the dentist maintain? Has your dentist contributed to any publications dealing with pediatric dental issues? Most dentists will gladly give this information to prospective clients.
Check Office Safety Procedures
Inquire about the safety procedures maintained at the dental office. If an emergency occurs, how does the office respond? Are written safety protocols and guidelines in place to transport the child to a medical facility if problems occur? What steps does the office take to notify parents?
Ask your dentist to describe in detail the pain management steps used by the dental practice. Today, most dental offices will administer pain medication before beginning procedures. Quite a number of practices also offer hypnotherapy to assist with pain relief. You should discover how your pediatric dentist addresses pain issues in children.
Try and locate a pediatric dentist with whom you can establish a good personal rapport. If you dislike the dentist, you may find it difficult consulting frequently with the practice about your child’s dental needs. You need to find someone who will respond to your questions and treat your questions and concerns as important.
Finally, it makes sense to check that the dental office maintains sufficient staff and facilities to provide a high level of care and follow up support following dental procedures. Does the office maintain an emergency service, or at least provide after hour’s referral services for patients? What, if any, insurance does the practice accept? Some dental practices provide open houses for parents so they can observe the treatment facilities and meet the staff.