For so many children, the dentist’s office can be a scary place with memories of painful fillings or teeth being pulled. To prevent children from being afraid of the dentist, choose a child’s dentist that can make them feel comfortable and safe. Pediatric dentists specialize in infants all the way up to teenagers, covering everything from mouth guards and cleanings to counseling on poor dental habits like thumb sucking. When choosing a child’s dentist, you’re making sure your child gets focused care just for them.

While a pediatric dentist is no more well qualified that a general family dentist, there are benefits in choosing a child’s dentist. Pediatric dentists receive an additional 2-3 years of training specifically for the needs of younger patients, so they know exactly what your child needs. Often times, pediatric dentists have smaller equipment and tools, perfect for younger patients. Their office and waiting room should be geared toward children as well; seeing a comfortable environment upon walking in can make any wary patients feel right at home.

A pediatric dentist is trained in areas that may affect your child’s oral needs. Adolescents go through things like learning to brush their teeth, stop using pacifiers or thumb sucking, all while new teeth are coming in. Choosing a child’s dentist means your child will be in the care of someone specifically trained on the issues your child is going through. They can recommend ways to better your child’s oral care practice to prevent fillings, or they can talk you through the movement in your child’s teeth and discuss additional needs such as orthodonture.

If you’ve found a dentist you like, make sure to check their background. See if they are a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Do they ever attend conferences on new technology or practices? Take your child to visit the office and see how they feel. If you’re choosing a child’s dentist specifically, see if the waiting room has books and games. Many dentists may provide a prize at the end of the visit, something for younger patients to look forward to. Lastly, try to schedule an interview with the dentist or a member of their staff. This can be a time to ask any questions such as insurance coverage, frequency of visits, services provided, and more.