Although pediatric dentists are a type of dental specialist, you don’t have to get a referral from your family dentist to see one. Bringing your child to a pedodontist on a regular basis is one of the best ways to help them keep their smile healthy well into adulthood.
If your current family dentist does not see children or you’re starting to wonder if it’s time to change pediatric dentists, here are four red flags to watch out for:
Does it seem like every time you need to make an appointment for your child, you have to wait several weeks before the dentist’s office can get them in? Maybe they’re in pain, and the dentist can’t even see your child until the next day. It’s extremely important to have access to urgent and emergency dental care, especially for children. An untreated abscessed tooth in a child can quickly lead to a trip to the emergency room or being admitted to the hospital.
Try to find a pediatric dental team that offers flexible appointments and accommodates the scheduling needs of your family.
Most dentists understand that their patient’s care choices are dictated by the type of insurance that they carry. Some pediatric dentists will go out of their way to accept out-of-network insurance plans, filing claims on the behalf of their patients even if they are not a preferred provider.
Although the costs may be slightly different (or you may have to pay out of pocket up front, then be reimbursed later) these simple amenities can make visiting the dentist more affordable.
Some pediatric dental offices make their scheduling restrictions so tight, that they don’t allow siblings to have appointments on the same day. If you have 2, 3, or more children, this can prove to be a scheduling nightmare.
The reasoning behind it is that if the family cancels or doesn’t show up for their scheduled appointment, it increases the operating and overhead costs of the office. But if you have a good relationship with a pedodontist, they should be able to book everyone in the same timeframe, saving you extra trips.
Most importantly — like a pediatrician — your family’s pediatric dentist needs to understand the unique situation that your family comes from. If that means there are medical or special needs involved, a past history that involves a negative dental experience, or something else, they should be willing to meet you where you are and accommodate your needs/concerns.
Sometimes it’s best to “listen to your gut,” even if it’s not something you can necessarily put your finger on.
To find a new pediatric dentist, start by asking your friends and neighbors who they use, or network with local parents from your children’s schools or extracurricular activities. You can also ask your insurance carrier for a list of in-network providers in your area.