Choosing A Pediatric Dentist In Bethesda, MD
If you are looking for a pediatric dentist in Bethesda, Maryland, or the surrounding area, you have come to the right place. In this blog post, we will discuss some things you should keep in mind when choosing a dentist for your child. The most important factor may surprise you! We also provide many tips to help you find the best fit for you and your child. After all, taking care of your child’s oral health is an investment in your child’s overall health! Continue reading this blog post to help you find and choose a pediatric dentist for your child’s oral health, hygiene, and dental care needs. Thank you for reading!
Factors and tips to consider when choosing a pediatric dentist for your child
When it comes time to choose a pediatric dentist, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Of course, you’ll want an experienced pediatric dentist with excellent qualifications. For many reasons, the location of your dentist’s office is important as well. You’re also going to want a well-organized front office with a courteous staff – we’re all busy and reminders, scheduling, and getting set up as a patient should be as pain-free as your child’s first dental visit. Those factors are all important but it can be a bit difficult to compare these things from one dentist to the next. However, when combined with our most important factor, it becomes quite simple to choose the best pediatric dentist for you and your child. So what is this one very important factor to rule them all? It’s the thing that we believe sets the stage for your child’s life-long journey of good oral health and hygiene.
Factor #1 – Find a positive, friendly, fun, and kind pediatric dental experience for your child
Fun is the secret ingredient! Throughout life, regular dental visits are essential for oral health and good health in general. When you and your child have a positive, fun, and educational experience during your dental visits, you build a strong foundation for your child’s lifelong oral health. Why is this important? Early childhood memories have much to do with the decisions we all make later in life. Just think about your experiences at the dentist when you were a child. If they were positive, you likely look forward to visiting the dentist. You probably visit the dentist at regular intervals and have good oral health and hygiene. Now is a good time to thank your parents! They had the wisdom to understand the connection between your early childhood positive experiences at the dentist and how that would shape your behavior later on in life! Of course, there are other factors to consider when you’re choosing a pediatric dentist for your child, however, look at this first one as a pre-requisite. It’s at the top of the list for a reason!
As you search for a pediatric dentist, ask yourself,
- Does the dentist love kids?
- Will my child/children enjoy their interactions with this dentist?
- Does this dentist feel like a good fit for me and my child?
- Will we look forward to visiting this dentist over the next number of years?
- Will this dentist be a good partner for me as I teach my child about good oral health and hygiene?
- Will this dentist provide a fun, friendly, kind, and educational experience for my child that will set the stage for their life-long oral health and hygiene?
If your answer is yes to these questions it’s time to review the next factor. If your answer is no to any of these questions, we recommend that you move on to the next dentist.
Factor #2 – Find a highly qualified and experienced pediatric dentist
No surprises here, we all want our kid’s dentist to be qualified and experienced. Let’s explore what that means. First, a pediatric dentist specializes in dental care for infants, toddlers, children, and adolescents. A pediatric dentist has two to three years of additional specialized training after completing dental school. This training focuses on the unique needs of growing teeth, gums, and mouths. So, that is the baseline for a brand-new pediatric dentist, but if we’re being honest, we want more than that for our child. As is the case in any profession, there is a lot of learning that takes place in the first years of practicing any discipline. Pediatric dentistry is no exception. Want to be sure that your child is in the hands of an experienced professional? Look for a pediatric dentist with at least 10 years of practice experience.
Look for information about a pediatric dentist on their website. Most dentists will publish their professional biography that will help you learn more about their qualifications and experience.
Factor #3 – Find a dentist in a great location
Notice that we used the word “great” instead of the word “convenient.” In this context, “great” means convenient with benefits. Remember factor #1 and the fact that you’ll typically be visiting your child’s pediatric dentist only a couple of times per year. Part of shaping your child’s positive experience around oral health and hygiene is the quality time they spend with you! With that in mind, why not find a dentist with an office in a location that you’ll enjoy visiting with your child? Time is a precious commodity and by that, we mean the time you spend with your child.
Look for a dentist with an office in a location that has shops, restaurants, sites to see and other fun things to do that you can take advantage of with your child before or after their dental visit.
Factor # 4 – Find a dentist with friendly, kind and courteous staff that run a well-organized front office
Let’s face it, we’re all busy and we can all use a little help staying organized. This is where a well-run front office at your child’s dentist can be very helpful. You’ll want reminders in advance of appointments, easy scheduling, and when it comes to getting started you may have questions and you’ll need a little help sorting through things like patient intake forms, insurance, billing, and those other necessary items that are part of visiting any pediatric dentist. You’ll want the tedious processes to be streamlined and your interactions with staff to be pleasant.
Factor #5 – Find a pediatric dentist with a clean, comfortable, and well-equipped office
The office of your child’s pediatric dentist is where you’ll spend some time over the next many years. You’ll want that office to be comfortable, with modern well-equipped dental suites that have state-of-the-art technology. Of course, you’ll also want the office to be clean!
Take some time to review what the dentist’s office looks like online. The websites of most pediatric dentists provide plenty of images that will give you a good idea of whether their office is comfortable, clean, and well-equipped to serve you and your child/children.
Factor #6 – Awards and recognitions and what you should know about them
When you visit the website of a pediatric dentist, you may see various awards and recognitions. While awards and recognitions look great, it’s important to know that many of these are related to paid advertising and marketing programs. In Bethesda and the Greater Washington DC Area, Bethesda Magazine and the Washingtonian Media companies both publish annual Top Dentist recognitions. While these programs are definitely advertising and marketing programs, they are popular because the top dentist recognitions are chosen by their peers (other dentists in the area).
It’s important to keep in mind that every award and recognition has a purpose and a process. Unless you’re willing to look into them in detail it’s best to not weigh them very heavily when choosing a dentist for your child. After all, it can be difficult to know whether an award reflects extraordinary accomplishment or is the product of a marketing and advertising campaign.
Most dentists participate in various advertising and marketing programs and there is nothing wrong with that. However, when it comes to awards and recognitions, make sure to do your research and understand the criteria on which each award/recognition is based and whether or not the dentist had to pay for the award.
When it comes time to choose a pediatric dentist, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Throughout life, good oral health has a very positive impact on your child’s general health, self-confidence, and discipline. Early positive experiences with oral health and hygiene – at the dentist and at home – set the stage for a life filled with good health, love, and success. This is why fun is the secret ingredient! We believe a positive, friendly, and fun experience for your child is the prerequisite factor to all others when choosing a pediatric dentist. This more than anything (other than you) will influence the way they feel about oral health and shape their behavior later in life. Of course, you will also want an experienced pediatric dentist with excellent qualifications. The dentist’s office is important as well – location, friendly and knowledgeable staff, a clean and comfortable environment, and modern equipment are all important items to consider.