Both general dentists and pediatric dentists are trained to care for young children and will be patient and caring toward your child.
General dentists treat people of all ages, however, some general dentists don’t see children under the age of three. If your child is over the age of three, there’s a good chance that the dentist you see will agree to see your child too. If your child is younger than age three, you may need to call a few dentists before you find one who will see your 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.
You will need to find a dentist that takes your dental coverage. While some dentists may accept your dental coverage, they may not be accepting new patients at the time. Keep calling different dentists until you find one that will see your child.
If you don’t have dental coverage, you can get low cost or free care at dental centers throughout Rhode Island.
Families can get dental insurance in different ways. Some families may get dental insurance through one or both of the parents’ jobs. Dental insurance may be linked together with your medical insurance in the same plan, or your dental insurance may be through a separate dental insurance plan.
Families who do not have dental insurance may be able to get affordable dental insurance through HealthSource RI (HSRI). For more information on available dental coverage options and how to enroll, please call HSRI at 1-855-840-4774 or visit the HSRI website.
Families who don’t have dental insurance offered through their jobs or can’t afford it may qualify for RIte Smiles dental insurance that is offered for children through RIte Care.
Tips on Finding a Dentist and Dental Coverage
Families who are expecting a baby should plan to put their newborn on their dental insurance coverage soon after the baby is born. When you take your baby for a first dental visit after you see a first tooth, the insurance company will already have the baby listed as part of your family. This way, your insurance company will pay for the visit.
Dentists may accept your dental coverage, but may not be accepting new patients. Keep calling different dentists until you find one that will see your child. Your dental insurance plan can help you to find an available dentist.
Unless it is an emergency, you can expect that your child’s first appointment may be a few weeks or months away. Make a note in your calendar so that you don’t forget it. Keeping that appointment will put your child on the path of healthy smiles for a lifetime.
Dental plans may cover different dental services. Check with your plan to see what your insurance will pay for and what your family may have to pay for separately. Most insurers will cover exams, cleanings, and other preventive care such as fluoride treatments. Sometimes, your dental insurance plan will pay part of the cost of a service (such as a filling or having a tooth pulled), but will require that you pay part of the cost too.