Oral care for children: How to select a great pediatric dentist

If you are wondering when the right time is to seek oral care for children, you aren't alone. While...

If you are wondering when the right time is to seek oral care for children, you aren't alone. While it is likely your pediatrician visited you in the hospital where you delivered your baby and explained the recommended schedule of visits, information about when to see a pediatric dentist is harder to come by. Here are some tips on when your child should have his or her first dentist's visit, as well as what to look for when choosing a care provider in the Atlanta area.

Timing is everything

The American Dental Association recommends that a child see a dentist within six months of the first tooth coming in and no later than one year of age. This first introduction to oral care is kind of like a well-baby checkup for teeth. But don't panic if your child is a little older and you have yet to seek care. The important thing is to establish healthy habits early and introduce your little one to the concept of oral care. Children's teeth may fall out, but the habits they establish now last for life.

Evaluating a pediatric dentist

When deciding upon a care provider, consider your child's comfort level first. Be sure that the pediatric dentist you choose is as concerned with making your child's experience a positive one as you are. It's important to find a care provider who understands that the first visit can be a little intimidating (or terrifying) for a child and seeks to make it fun. The dentist's website is a great indication of what the practice will be like. If you see monkeys and other assorted jungle creatures, this is a good sign. Call the office and ask the receptionist about the type of experience your child can expect for his or her first visit. Try to get a sense of whether the dentist knows how to make a child's experience fun.

There's no place like home

Location is an important consideration as well. Of course, proximity to your home is a plus. A 45-minute drive with two kids is only acceptable if it ends with a plane ride to an exotic locale.

It can't all be fun and games

The pediatric dentist you select should be equally qualified to do Elmo impressions and demonstrate proper dental hygiene to you and your child. Make sure the dentist takes your insurance and has a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree. But assuming all the basic qualifications are met, don't worry if you think upon walking into the office that you've accidentally stumbled into an amusement park. There is plenty of time later in life for elevator music and golf magazines. Oral care for children is about fun as much as it is about flossing.

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