Frequently Asked Questions When Looking for a New Pediatric Dentist

FAQs to ask a Pediatric Dentist

Choosing a pediatric dentist for your child is an essential decision that can significantly impact their oral health and overall well-being. It’s important to find a dentist who not only provides quality dental care but also creates a positive and comfortable experience for your child. To help you navigate this crucial decision, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions when looking for a new pediatric dentist.

1. What is a Pediatric Dentist, and Why Do I Need One?

A pediatric dentist is a specialized dental professional who focuses on the oral health of infants, children, and adolescents. They have additional training beyond dental school, specifically in child psychology, growth and development, and providing dental care tailored to children. Choosing a pediatric dentist is important because they are equipped to meet the unique needs of young patients, offering a safe and welcoming environment where children can receive appropriate dental care.

2. When Should I Start Taking My Child to a Pediatric Dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that a child’s first dental visit should occur by their first birthday or within six months after their first tooth erupts. Early dental visits are essential to monitor dental development, educate parents on proper oral care, and establish a dental home for your child. Regular check-ups will also help prevent dental issues before they become significant problems.

3. How Do I Find a Qualified Pediatric Dentist?

Start your search by asking for recommendations from friends, family, or your child’s pediatrician. You can also use online resources and directories provided by organizations like the AAPD. Look for a dentist who is board-certified, experienced, and has a positive reputation in the community. Reading online reviews and checking their credentials, social media pages and affiliations can also provide valuable insights.

4. What Qualities Should I Look for in a Pediatric Dentist?

When choosing a pediatric dentist, consider factors like experience, qualifications, and office atmosphere. A great pediatric dentist should be patient, compassionate, and skilled in managing children’s behavior. They should have the ability to create a welcoming and child-friendly environment that helps reduce anxiety. Additionally, they should be up-to-date with the latest pediatric dental practices and technologies.

5. Does the Location of the Dental Office Matter?

The location of the dental office can be crucial, especially for busy parents. Look for a pediatric dentist with a conveniently located office, as this can save time and reduce stress when scheduling appointments and arriving on time. A well-located dental office can also be beneficial in case of dental emergencies.

6. How Can I Ensure My Child Feels Comfortable at the Dentist?

A good pediatric dentist should create an environment that helps children feel at ease. Look for an office with a child-friendly waiting area, toys, and a cheerful staff. Pediatric dentists often use techniques such as tell-show-do to explain procedures to children, reducing their anxiety and making them feel more comfortable. Ask the dentist about their approach to managing children’s fear and anxiety during dental visits.

7. What Services Should a Pediatric Dentist Offer?

Pediatric dentists provide a wide range of services, including dental exams, cleanings, fluoride treatments, sealants, and restorative procedures like fillings. They are also equipped to handle more complex procedures like root canals on primary teeth, extractions, and orthodontic evaluations. Ensure that the pediatric dentist you choose offers the services necessary for your child’s age and dental needs.

8. How Do I Know if the Dental Office Is Safe and Clean?

Maintaining a clean and safe environment is crucial in a dental office, especially for children. You can ask about the infection control and sterilization protocols followed in the office. Additionally, observe the cleanliness of the waiting area and treatment rooms during your visit. Reputable dental offices will be transparent about their sanitation practices.

9. Are Dental X-Rays Safe for My Child?

Dental X-rays are a valuable diagnostic tool, but parents often worry about their safety. Pediatric dentists are trained to use the lowest possible radiation dose for children and use lead aprons and shields to minimize exposure. The frequency of X-rays will depend on your child’s individual dental needs, and the dentist should explain why they are necessary in your child’s case.

10. How Should I Prepare My Child for Their First Dental Visit?

Preparing your child for their first dental visit is essential to create a positive experience. Start by talking to your child about the dentist in a positive and non-threatening way. You can read children’s books about visiting the dentist or play pretend dentist at home. Avoid using negative language or sharing your own dental fears to prevent unnecessary anxiety.

11. Will My Child Need Sedation or Anesthesia?

In some cases, children may require sedation or anesthesia for dental procedures, especially if they are anxious. Pediatric dentists are trained to use sedation safely, and they will discuss the options with you, explaining the benefits and potential risks. Ensure you are informed about the choice of sedation and feel comfortable with the decision made.

12. How Much Will Pediatric Dental Care Cost?

Dental costs can vary significantly based on your location, the specific procedures your child needs, and your insurance coverage. It’s essential to inquire about the cost of routine exams and common procedures. Most dental offices will work with insurance providers, and some may offer payment plans to make dental care more affordable for families.

13. What if My Child Has Special Dental Needs?

If your child has special dental needs, it’s crucial to find a pediatric dentist experienced in treating children with similar conditions. Whether it’s a developmental issue, special healthcare needs, or sensory sensitivities, a skilled pediatric dentist will be better equipped to provide the appropriate care and make your child’s visit as comfortable as possible.

14. How Can I Maintain Good Oral Hygiene for My Child at Home?

Your pediatric dentist can provide guidance on proper oral hygiene practices at home, including brushing, flossing, and diet recommendations. It’s essential to follow these guidelines to prevent dental issues and maintain your child’s oral health between dental visits.

15. What Should I Do in Case of a Dental Emergency?

Accidents can happen, and knowing how to handle a dental emergency is crucial. Ask your pediatric dentist about their emergency protocols and after-hours availability. Be prepared with their contact information and know what to do in the event of an injury or severe toothache.


Choosing a pediatric dentist is a significant decision that can impact your child’s oral health and overall well-being. By asking these frequently asked pediatric dental questions and carefully considering the answers, you can make an informed choice when looking for a new pediatric dentist. Remember that a pediatric dentist who offers a welcoming, child-friendly environment and demonstrates compassion and expertise will help create a positive dental experience for your child, setting the foundation for a lifetime of good oral health.

Smilez Pediatric Dental Gainesville is accepting new patients and we’d love to answer any questions you might have. Feel free to give us a call at (703) 468-0700 or fill out our contact form.