There’s nothing quite as painful as tooth pain. Any adult who has ever had a pervasive cavity knows this. Yet there is one thing worse than your own tooth pain, and that’s seeing your child suffering from tooth pain. Experts estimate that over 25 percent of 2 to 5-year-olds have cavities. So if your child is experiencing severe pain in their teeth, you’re not alone. When you find yourself waking up at night with a child who has tooth pain, it’s time to call a pediatric dentist. But how do you know if you’ve found the best dentist for kids?
By the time you’ve finished reading this article, you will understand the qualifications for the best dentist for children and the ways you can find a Chicago pediatric dentist.
1. Care About Kids
First and foremost, a pediatric dentist should care about children. You don’t have to visit the dentist to find out if a dentist cares about kids. Begin your search by asking around your community.
Talk to friends, family, and neighbors to see who they’d recommend for a pediatric dentist who cares about children.
You also need a pediatric dentist that understands kids and their nature. You need a dentist who is patient with their youngest and most difficult patients.
2. Knowledge and Education
All dentists have the same beginning education and knowledge about dentistry. Pediatric dentists have special knowledge about children’s teeth. When the dentist asks about things like thumb sucking, using pacifiers, and grinding teeth in children, you’ll know you’ve found a knowledgeable pediatric dentist.
A pediatric dentist, like all dentists, will earn one of two degrees. They will have a DDS or DDM degree. Both degrees require four years at a dental school.
In the first two years of the program, dental students learn about the science behind dentistry and lab procedures. The last two years consist of clinical work in groups. During this time the dentist learns how to diagnose and treat patients.
Once the pediatric dentist has finished their four years of school, they must pass the National Board Dental Examination. This allows them to be licensed, depending on the licensing process of the state where they want to practice. Some states may require another exam specific to pediatric dentistry.
After passing their board exam, the pediatric dentist will complete a two-year residency. This sets them apart from a general dentist. At this time they will learn about child development, child psychology, and child-related pharmacology.
This residency will prepare the pediatric dentist to work with children. And this is the dentist you want for your child. After this residency, the dentist can receive board certification focused specifically on pediatric dentistry.
Once they pass this exam, the dentist will be a Diplomate of Pediatric Dentistry.
3. Authority and Compassion
Children need a combination of authority and compassion in a dentist. The children’s dentist will display compassion for the child while still having an authoritative voice. They understand that they must treat a child’s oral condition regardless of how much the child disagrees with them.
So they’ll use that authoritative voice as well as trained staff to get the job done. They also recognize how to work with kids thanks to their training in child psychology. Their compassionate voice will soothe a child and alleviate children’s fears about the dentist.
A children’s dentist will also be fun and engaging. They will create new ways for children to look at dental hygiene. So instead of seeing the dentist as someone who scolds them for poor hygiene, the child will see the dentist as a cheerleader in their corner who teaches them how to take care of their teeth.
5. Friendly Environment
A pediatric dentist will have a friendly, clean environment. Their waiting room will be built specifically for children, with small chairs and tables and engaging activities.
Their office, exam room, and the treatment area will also be friendly. The best pediatric dentist will have great ways to distract kids like movies or music that helps them stay calm. They understand how to take kids’ minds off the dental work.
Finding a Pediatric Dentist
To find a pediatric dentist in Chicago, start by asking friends and family in your community. Then know that a family dentist and a pediatric dentist are not the same.
Pediatric dentists work only with children, and they have the specialized training to deal specifically with kids. Their experience and training set them apart from good family dentists.
Next, go online. Look at the online reviews to see which Chicago pediatric dentist others recommend. Online reviewers are ruthlessly honest, so you’ll receive a clear picture of each dentist you look at.
Once you think you’ve found the pediatric dentist in Chicago, schedule a consultation. Bring your child in for an interview, consultation, and tour of the office. Pediatric dentists will often not allow parents in the treatment area with their children, but they give them a tour of the area so they and their children can see where the child receives treatment.
As you tour the facility, look specifically at the amenities offered to kids. See if the dentist has a way of distracting kids as they work on them. Make sure the waiting room is a kid-friendly environment.
Finally, ask the important questions. Ask about insurance plans, their approach to preventative care, and how they deal with kids when they will not behave for them.
This process will lead you to find the best dentist in Chicago.
Find the Best Dentist For Kids
To find the best dentist for kids in Chicago, look for a dentist with these qualities. You want a dentist with dental education specific to pediatrics. You also want a compassionate, authoritative, and engaging individual.
When you call the office, pay attention to the staff as well. Look for a warm, engaging overall staff as well as a good dentist. These things will help calm your child’s nerves so they can receive the treatment they need.
Are you looking for a great pediatric dentist in the Chicago area? If so, contact us. Dr. Bob, Dr. Monika, and the folks at Brushin’ on Belmont are compassionate and engaging professionals who will help your child receive the oral treatment they need.