There comes a point in your children’s lives where they have enough teeth to visit the dentist. They might not want to, but it has to be done. The development of strong teeth begins at a young age. Between kindergarten and the start of middle school, twenty percent of children have at least one untreated tooth. If left alone, this can develop into a cavity or cause further decay. This doesn’t need to happen in the 21st century. How can you find a good dentist? Here are some guidelines to help.

Ask Around

Your friends and neighbors probably went through the same dilemma at one point. They know which family dentists are the best in and around town. So, don’t be afraid to ask them for suggestions. Actually, you don’t want their opinion only. You want them from their kids. If the entire family has positive reviews, then it’s a place to consider. If the parents like it but the kids don’t, then look elsewhere.

Plan A Visit

Once you select a few family dentist practices, you want to visit them, but not for an appointment. Instead, you want to observe. There’s a lot to look at when you stop at one of these locations. The lobby area should be comfortable and fit all age groups. The outer office needs to make you and your children feel at ease. It has to be quiet and clean. The most important item to review is what the dentists are like. They should be authoritative, not authoritarian. In other words, they need to be firm with their patients but not to the point of scaring them.

Entertainment for Children

Going to the dentist can be stressful and anxiety inducing for kids and adults. Call around to find a dentist that has a designated area for kids to play while you wait for their appointment. This is not only fun for them, but also distracting. They will likely be more calm during their examination. There are also dental offices that offer entertainment options during the exam as well. For example, dentists in Westerville Ohio have televisions that are mounted to the ceiling designed specifically to distract and relax patients. They state that “wireless headphones are also available for patients who desire to block out the noisy sounds of dental treatment with noise-canceling technology.” This can be greatly beneficial to children so that they can be calm and enjoy their appointment.

What They Handle

If you’re looking for a practice to support your dental needs after your children have grown, then you want to see what they offer. The main reason is everyone will need different types of treatment as they get older. Other than cleanings, x-rays, and fillings, do they handle orthodontics? If not, are they connected with a practice so the kids can get braces? What about deep cleanings or issues with gum disease? Are they equipped for it, or do you need to go to a specialist? Should they handle multiple specialties, the next thing to find out is how good they are. Think of it in terms of a buffet. There are a number of items that are done well while others are secondary. The same goes for the family dentist.

Firmly Established Or New?

Something else to consider: how long have they been open. There are benefits to both long-standing and new practices. Long-standing family dentists are known throughout the surrounding towns. They may have taken care of several family generations. If not the originals, perhaps their children took over the practice. New family dentists are untested. However, they want to make the best first impression possible. So, they strive for top-notch service. What parents have to watch for is if the quality goes down after a few months.

Coverage

You may have found what seems to be the perfect family dentist. They have good reviews, a positive staff, and high-quality doctors. However, if they aren’t covered under your health insurance, these details might not matter. So, as your search begins for a family dentist, check your health plan. They should have a list of practices they work with. If the one you want is there, look at their claim/coverage details. You want to make sure the insurance covers a good portion of both the common and emergency items. The good news is a majority of national dental insurance programs are supported by practices. Companies like Delta Dental and MetLife offer strong benefits. For lower-income families or those without work-related healthcare, Medicaid can be utilized at some of these locations.

Overall, don’t rush your decision. The practice you choose should be one you feel comfortable with for years, if not decades. Review the profiles of the dentists, get to know their staffs, and see what friends and family think. Your teeth and gums are the most important parts of your body. Discovery of something can be related to many other ailments. Make sure your family dentist can see beyond your mouth.

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