Your child’s first trip to the dentist is a major milestone, and it can help set the stage for a lifetime of good dental health. That’s why it is so important to find a kid-friendly dentist with whom your child feels comfortable.
But finding a good dentist can take some time. Finding a kid-friendly dentist is even harder. Even knowing where to start your search can be daunting. Here, we offer five tips to help you find a great dentist for your child:
1. Ask for referrals from friends and family.
Your friends, family members, coworkers, and neighbors can all be great resources for finding a kid-friendly dentist in your area. Ask the people you know who have young children where they take them for dental care and what they like about their child’s dentist. Does the dentist take the time to get to know their child? Do they explain procedures in a kid-friendly manner and make sure the child feels comfortable? Is the office staff friendly and knowledgeable? Chances are, if other children and parents have had a positive experience with a dentist, your child will, too.
2. Ask your pediatrician about kid-friendly dentists.
Your child’s pediatrician can be a wealth of information about local resources for kids. Pediatrician offices refer patients to other services and specialties every day, and this includes kid-friendly dentists in your area. Your child’s doctor knows your child, and can recommend a dentist who will be able to make him or her feel comfortable, as well as address any specific needs he or she may have. This is especially important if your child has special needs which require extra support during dental exams.
3. Ask your current dentist, if you have one.
If you need to find a kid-friendly dentist for your child because you are moving to a new location, ask your current dentist if he or she can recommend someone in your new area. If you aren’t moving far, your dentist may know other practitioners who work with children and who may be a good fit for your family. A recommendation from a dentist you already know, like, and trust is one of the best ways to find a high-quality kid-friendly dentist for your family.
4. Use online search tools.
There are a variety of online search tools that can help you identify a kid-friendly dentist near you. Our search tool, for example, allows users to perform detailed searches for dentists in their area. Once you find some that are convenient, you can begin to…
5. Read online reviews.
Sure, you can’t believe everything you read on the internet. But reading online reviews can help you get a feel for whether a dentist is reputable, and how good they are with kids.
Doing a quick online search will provide you with reviews from websites like healthgrades.com, yelp.com, and many others. If you notice consistently strong reviews from happy patients, it can be a good indicator of a dentist who provides quality service. However, if you notice a large number of complaints or negative reviews, that should be a red flag that that particular dentist is probably not someone who will be a good fit for your child.
6. Visit the dentist’s office.
One of the best ways to determine whether a dentist is truly kid-friendly is to visit their office in person. Call the office of the dentist you are considering taking your child to and ask to schedule a time for a visit. This will allow you to see the office firsthand, meet with the dentist, and ask any questions you may have before you need to bring your child in for a dental exam.
Some other signs of a good kid-friendly dentist include:
- Kids books and toys to keep children occupied in the waiting room
- Other kids or families in the office
- Stickers or other (non-candy) prizes for good behavior
- Kid-appropriate toothbrushes to give families
Even better: If you are able to bring your child with you, you will be able to see how the dentist and office interact with your child. What better way is there to get a feel for a dentist? As an added bonus, it will help put your child at ease when it is time for that first exam, because they will already be familiar with the dentist and the sights and sounds of the office.