So, naturally, the question arises: as a parent, how should I go about choosing the right dentist for my child? In this article, we will answer this question by discussing five key steps. Done in succession, these steps will help you start with a long list of prospects and narrow it down until you’ve found the right dentist for you and your family.
Talking to your friends, family members, neighbors, and coworkers is an important place to start in your quest to find the right dentist. Getting first-hand insight from people you know and trust will go a long way in helping you to make the right decision. During your discussions, aim to gather in-depth knowledge about which dentists provide good service for kids, which dentists you should avoid, and the criteria used in each assessment. Another approach is to ask your current doctors, pediatricians, and even pharmacists for suggestions. As fellow members of the healthcare community, they may have a different perspective and be able to provide valuable insight. A final approach is to contact organizations like the American Dental Association to identify member dentists in your area.
Health Insurance Coverage Network
A key consideration you’ll need to make when deciding on a dentist is understanding which ones are in your health or dental insurer’s network. Choosing a dentist outside of coverage can have a significant financial impact and greatly increase your out-of-pocket expenses. If finances are a major issue, you may want to target referrals from people who have your same health care coverage. If finding the best person in town is your sole criteria, you can cast a wider net; just be aware that it could end up costing you significantly.
Visit Prospective Dentists
Once you have a list of prospective dentists, make arrangements to visit their offices and talk with them or their staff directly. Upon arrival for each visit, start by evaluating the cleanliness and kid-friendliness of the waiting area. Next, pay special attention to how you are treated by the staff and everyone you come into contact with. During your discussions, ask targeted questions about the dentist’s educational and professional background; find out, specifically, whether they have been trained to work with children and if they are members of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Finally, be sure to find out the dentist’s regular hours of availability and how emergency appointments are handled.
Be Realistic about Your Expectations and Needs
Once you’ve completed your visits, be realistic about what you learned from them. Be mindful about any observations or answers to questions that were less than satisfactory. Also think about how you will interact with the dentist in real-life situations. For instance, if you have to pick your child up after leaving work to take them to the dentist, is the target office in a convenient location during rush hour traffic? In the end, making your final decision based on your realistic needs and expectations is critical!
Be in the Room for Visits
After you’ve selected your dentist, be sure to accompany your child during visits. Seeing the dentist in action with your child can help you decide whether you should end your search or keep it going. Also, be sure to talk to your child after dental appointments understand their perspective. Collectively, your impressions should be key in determining whether the dentist you’ve chosen is truly a good match.
In closing, choosing a dentist for your child can be a complex process; but, if you start with a list of referrals from people you trust and steadily prune it based on realistic criteria, you and your child should be in great shape!