Both general dentists and pediatric dentists are trained to care for young children and are patient and caring with them.
General dentists treat people of all ages, however, some general dentists don’t see children under the age of three. If your client’s child is over the age of three, there’s a good chance that the dentist the parents see will agree to see their child as well. If the child is younger than age three, parents may need to call a few dentists before they find one who will see the child.
Pediatric dentists treat only children, just as pediatricians are medical doctors who treat only children. Pediatric dentists have special training to treat children from when they are infants through their teenage years.
There are many ways to find either a general dentist who treats young children or a pediatric dentist who only treats children.
Families who are expecting a baby should plan to put their newborn on their dental insurance coverage soon after the baby is born. When the baby goes for a first dental visit after parents see a first tooth, the insurance company will already have the baby listed as part of the family. This way, the insurance company will pay for the visit.
Dentists may accept a family’s dental coverage, but may not be accepting new patients. Encourage families to keep calling different dentists until they find one that will see their child. Their dental insurance plan can help them find an available dentist.
Unless it is an emergency, parents can expect that their child’s first appointment may be a few weeks or months away. Remind them to make a note in their calendar so that they don’t forget it. Keeping that appointment will put the child on the path of healthy smiles for a lifetime.
Dental plans may cover different dental services. Families will need to check their plan to see what their insurance will pay for and what the family may have to pay for separately. Most insurers will cover exams, cleanings, and other preventive care such as fluoride treatments. Sometimes, dental insurance plans will pay part of the cost of a service (such as a filling or having a tooth pulled), but will require that patients pay part of the cost too.
Help families make finding a dentist for their child a priority, and they will be rewarded with a lifetime of healthy smiles!