If you are looking for a new family dentist then there are a few things you want to consider. Pediatric dentists in particular should have certain qualities about them that go above and beyond their licensing or qualifications or even experience. Here are some characteristics that you should look for in a family dentist.
- Genuine love and concern – this is needed for the children that pass through his or her office should be your number one concern in a family dentist.
- Patience – this is huge. Anyone who works with children needs to be patient but especially a dentist because of having to work in their mouths and possibly gently restrain them, neither of which children tolerate very well.
- Authoritative – the best family dentist will be in control and authoritative but also thoughtful and kind without scaring the children.
- Communicative – he or she should be able to communicate with the children as well as the parents in a way that they can understand and be able to follow.
- Compassion – dental cleanings and exams and even the offices can be a frightening place for a little kid so the dentist should be compassionate and understand this without getting frustrated or impatient.
- Knowledgeable – a good dentist will be knowledgeable about his practice of course but he should also know about childish things that affect teeth like thumb sucking, pacifiers and bottles.
- Kid Friendly Office – As I mentioned, even an office with the bright lights and machines can be a scary place so having a fun and playful atmosphere is important. Colors and cartoons and toys should be available to distract the children and give a good first impression.
If you are able to find a dentist that has all of these qualities that you are in luck. Hold on to that dentist and never switch! Now, how exactly do you find such a dentist?
- Word of mouth – recommendations from family and friends are always the best way to go. If someone else has a good experience with a professional and then you let the professional know that you were referred, chances are you will get the same treatment as the one who referred you.
- Look locally – Even if you find a great dentist, commuting to see them will get old really fast. make sure that you are looking in your area for a dentist. Especially one for your children, they will not appreciate the long drive every six months or more.
- Emergency prepared – Make sure that you find a dentist office that handles emergencies or at least has a policy of what to do in the case of emergency.
- Insurance – One way to look for a dentist office is to call your insurance and find out which dentists your insurance covers. This will help you weed out offices that you would not be able to go to anyway.
- Special needs – If your child has mental or physical special needs then you need to make sure the dentist knows and see if he has any kind of training or expertise is dealing with these kinds of needs.
Overall, you want to be comfortable with your dentist and your child should have a good feeling about them to. Children can be very intuitive, so make sure you listen to their desires as well, especially after the first appointment. Don’t settle before testing out some different offices and seeing which one you feel the best about. You may find that you love a certain dentist at first but after a couple of appointments, you decide that this particular dentist or office is not a good fit. Do not feel tied down to a particular place. Keep an open mind and you will be able to find the dentist that you want you and your children to see for the rest of their childhood. Dentists and doctors become apart of the village that raises your children so don’t be afraid to take a while and choose wisely.