Medical experts advise parents to take their children to the dentist during their first birthday. Contrary to popular belief, locating a good dentist is not about walking to the nearest dental health clinic. The following is a checklist that will help you pick the right dentist for your child.
Finding a Pediatric Dentist
The first question you need to ask yourself is where to find a dentist with the right qualifications and experience. In your search for the ideal pediatrician it may help to:
- Seek for recommendations from family and friends
- Search local magazines and websites for recommendations
- Search in private practices, medical centers, and dental colleges
- Check the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry search tool to locate qualified dentists
- Ask prospects about their training: a pediatric dentist should have two additional years of training for kids, special needs kids, and teenagers
Care Offered to Your Child
Since your child is expected to visit a dentist from infancy to adolescence, you should look out for the following types of services:
- Risk assessment for tooth cavities and general oral exams
- Repair of tooth defects and cavities
- Preventive dental hygiene including sealants, fluoride treatment, and cleaning
- Advice on handling dental habits like teeth grinding, pacifier use, and thumb sucking
- Assessment of tooth development
- Assessment of whether orthodontic care is required to correct an improper bite or straighten teeth
- Management and prevention of gum disease including gingivitis and periodontal disease
- Management of oral conditions such as ulcers and short frenulae
- Care for fractured teeth, knocked out teeth or displaced teeth
Look for a dentist who will educate you and your kid on proper dental hygiene. Your dentist should discuss with you about the following:
- Food and drinks that are harmful to your teeth
- The proper way to floss and brush
- The proper way of handling fractured or knocked out teeth
- When to expect your child’s permanent teeth
- How to care for your infant’s or baby’s teeth
Apart from the qualifications, services, and education provided by a pediatrician, you should also be watchful for the environment of the clinic. A pediatric’s office should cater for children with hands on toys and colorful paints to make the visit a memorable experience for the child. The ideal dentist should also be welcoming and friendly. When looking for the ideal clinic atmosphere you should be keen on:
- A kid friendly dentist’s office
- Instruments that are appropriate for your kid’s mouth
- Accessible and friendly office staff
- A dentist who relates well with crying or scared children
Foods to Avoid For Healthy Teeth
Good pediatric dentists will advice you on the foods you and your child should avoid for healthy teeth. These foods include:
Bacteria turn sugar into acid which destroys the enamel of the tooth and causes decay. Sugar and acids in carbonated drinks combine resulting in tooth damage.
Citrus Juices and Fruits
While citrus juices and fruits are a rich source of nutrients and Vitamin C, lemon and grapefruit are acidic and are capable of eroding the tooth’s enamel. It is better to drink water and low-fat milk instead of juice.
Candy is full of sugar that sticks in a child’s tooth crevices and causes cavities overtime. Dried fruits are also sticky and have lots of sugar. If your children indulge in sugary snacks and candy, ensure they brush their teeth after eating these foods.
Chips, Bread and Pasta
Starch from white flour is broken down to simple sugars that can cause tooth decay. Experts discourage people from eating chips, bread or pasta not only due to their poor nutritional value but also because the starch in these foods sticks to the teeth causing decay. Opt for foods made from whole wheat instead of white flour.