All kids should visit a dentist by their first birthday. Finding a good pediatric dentist may mean the difference between a pleasant, successful first experience and an experience that may not be the great. It is important to find a dentist that takes good care of your child's teeth while making the visit enjoyable.
Find a Pediatric Dentist
First, gather recommendations from friends, family and your child's pediatrician. Check out the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry's dentist search tool to search for pediatric dentists in your area. Research these dentists online. A pediatric dentist needs two years of additional training over and above a regular general dentist. Make sure you select pediatric dentists that have the proper training and certification.
Schedule a Consultation
Make plans to meet with a couple of pediatric dentists from your list. A consultation should be just that; no work should be done during this visit. Instead, see how the dentist interacts with your child and how your child reacts to the dentist. The pediatric dentist should take an interest in your child's oral health. He should be warm and friendly and answer any questions you may have. A good pediatric dentist will be happy to take the time to go over oral care with you. If you do not get a good feeling from any of the pediatric dentists or feel that they don't want to take the time for you, cross them from your list.
Check Out the Atmosphere
While at your consultation, take a look around the office. Pediatric dentistry offices should cater to children, complete with kid-friendly books and toys in the waiting room. These aspects help make the experience fun for your child. Next, take a look at the dental equipment the dentist uses. It should be kid-sized and smaller than the equipment in your dental office. The office staff should be friendly and approachable, including the receptionist, who will be setting up your appointments.
Pick the Top Candidate
The right dentist will take extra time to explain to your child the basics of practicing good oral hygiene and demonstrate such practices as toothbrushing, flossing and rinsing. He will also explain any procedures to your child beforehand in a kid-friendly way, making the whole experience pleasurable and informative to both you and your child.