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Tooth decay is a serious problem among children in the U.S. In fact, approximately one in five children aged 5-11 and one in seven children aged 12-19 have at least one untreated decayed tooth.

Does your child get regular dental exams? If not, their chances of dealing with tooth decay increase significantly. 

If you’re nervous about taking your child to the dentist, you may want to consider finding a pediatric dentist in your area.

Not sure how to find the right pediatric dentist? Keep reading for some great tips on how to find the best Chicago pediatric dentist for your child.

Why Work with a Pediatric Dentist?

A pediatric dentist is someone who is an expert children’s oral health and dental care.

Why can’t you just take your child to the same dentist you see? Why should you make trips to two different dentist’s offices? 

The reality is that children’s teeth are very different from adult teeth. Children need special care from someone who understands these differences. 

Pediatric Dentistry Vs. Adult Dentistry

Pediatric dentists receive more training than general or family dentists. They spend between two and three extra years learning about child psychology, development, and growth.

Pediatric dentists are also well-informed about the changes that children go through and know what kind of symptoms they need to look out for. 

They not only know how to deal with issues like tooth decay and cavities; they also know how to address more serious complications like delayed loss of baby teeth.

Pediatric dentists can also administer sedation to children who need to undergo more intensive or invasive treatments.

Benefits of Pediatric Dentistry

In addition to increased knowledge and experience, there are lots of benefits that come with taking your child to a pediatric dentist, including the following:

  • Pediatric dentists know how to keep your child calm during their visit
  • They know how to spot signs of bad habits (thumb sucking, poor brushing, etc.) and can help your child to give them up for good
  • Children learn good oral hygiene practices from a young age
  • They also learn the consequences of not practicing good oral hygiene (i.e., cavities and fillings)

Keep in mind, too, that many dentists who offer pediatric dentistry services also work on adults.

If your dentist doesn’t offer pediatric services, you might want to consider one who offers both general dentistry and pediatric dentistry. That way, you won’t have to worry about making multiple trips, and everyone can get their teeth taken care of at once.

How to Find the Best Pediatric Dentist

Clearly, there are benefits to taking your child to a pediatric dentist. But, it’s not enough just to find a pediatric dentist. You also have to find the right one for your child.

How do you go about doing this?

Start by implementing these strategies:

Ask for Recommendations

When it comes to finding a great pediatric dentist, a good first step is to ask your friends and family members for recommendations. You might also want to ask their pediatrician if they have a particular dentist they regularly recommend.

Once you have a few recommendations, do some additional research to learn more about them.

Make sure the dentists have the required training needed to call themselves a pediatric dentist. You should make sure their certifications and licenses are all up to date, too.

Schedule a Consultation

Once you’ve done some preliminary research and narrowed down the recommendations you received, call their office and ask to schedule a consultation to get the know the dentist.

Most dentists are more than happy to let you come in, take a tour of the office, and talk to them about their services.

If a dentist doesn’t allow you to come in for a consultation (or at least talk with them over the phone), this is usually a sign that you shouldn’t work with them. 

Observe the Atmosphere

When you arrive at the office for your consultation, pay attention to the atmosphere. 

A pediatric dentist’s office should be appealing to children. There should be toys and kid-friendly books in the waiting room. There also should be child-sized equipment in the dental office. 

You should also pay attention to the reception you receive from the office administrator, dental assistants, dental hygienists, and the dentist. Are they friendly, welcoming, and approachable?

If you don’t get a good feeling from the office, it’s probably not a good place to bring your child, especially if he or she is already nervous about going to the dentist.

Ask the Right Questions

During your consultation, make sure you’re asking the dentist the right questions. Some good ones to ask include:

  • What measures will you take to ease my child’s anxiety?
  • Can I hold my child’s hand during the exam?
  • How intrusive will their first exam be?
  • What type of insurance do you take?
  • Do your offer sedation or anesthesia?
  • Do you offer dental sealants?
  • How can I prepare my child for their first appointment?

If you’re satisfied with the answers you receive to all these questions, this might be the right pediatric dentist for your child. 

Consider the Location

Finally, be sure to take the dentist’s location into account. Is it easy to find? Is it located close to your house? Is there plenty of parking available?

Taking your child to the dentist can be stressful, especially for their first visit. Don’t make things more complicated by picking an office that’s located far away from your house or in a busy, hard-to-access part of the city.

Bring Your Child to a Chicago Pediatric Dentist Today

There are lots of reasons to take your child to a pediatric dentist.

Pediatric dentists know how to minimize the fear and anxiety that often accompanies a trip to the dentist, and their offices are much less intimidating to young children.

Are you ready to start working with a Chicago pediatric dentist? If so, come visit us at Brushin’ on Belmont today.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment or to learn more about our services.