Parents, Ask These 10 Questions
Naturally, you hope to get quality dental care for you and your children. The most important question you should ask is, “Is it just a guessing game or are there criteria that I should be checking?”
After all, poor dental care is not an area where good parents want to realize later that their children were shorted. However, even if your family has had poor dental care in the past, it’s not too late when they are teens to make up for those years.
So, what questions does a mom or dad ask prior to choosing a family dentist in Cincinnati?
There are two main discussions that will most likely affect your decision – how the doctor treats you as a friend and how this dentist will treat your family’s oral health. We suggest you think about these 10 questions to help you choose a dentist who has the great dental care you need and deserve.
#1. “At what age does the dentist want children to come in for their first visit?”
Pedodontists (specialty children’s dentists) want to see children sometime after their first tooth erupts, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. A kid-friendly general and family dentist, will most likely ask to see your child a little later. At our practice, we like to see children by their fourth birthday at the latest.
#2. “What takes place at my child’s first dental appointment?”
Unless it’s a dental emergency, Dr. Peck would ask the child to first come for a quiet-time appointment to get used to the strange sights, sounds and smells of a dental office. At our office, depending on the child’s anxiety level, they can stay on your lap or, should they become trusting and calm, he or she can crawl up in the dental chair for a fun talk with Dr. Peck. Of course, if your child isn’t old enough for conversation, we may gently shine a light in the child’s mouth. Then, they can begin describing for you and your toddler what happens in a dental office. Toddlers and early elementary aged children will probably enjoy playing with Dr. Peck’s tools that make the whirring sounds, ride up and down in the dental chair, see some cool toys and gadgets, and receive gifts when they say goodbye.
#3. “Is it easy to ask the dentist questions?”
If the dentist prefers that you usually speak to someone at the front desk or another staff person, then you should begin to wonder how important you are to this dentist. Dr. Peck care about you and your family and will be happy to answer your questions personally. Dr. Peck may not be immediately available at that moment, however, we can set up a time for a private telephone call as soon as possible.
#4. “What is the dentist’s philosophy for performing dentistry?”
An excellent dentist will:
• explain problems AND options so you can make good choices for your family’s care
• be committed to offering you dentistry that will last and bring good health
• find a dental treatment option that will fit within your family’s budget
• not allow insurance companies to make your dental care decisions for you
#5. “What kinds of dental materials does the dentist use?”
The dentist should be using state-of-the-art materials accompanied with an understanding of the meticulous techniques required for the placement of these restorations. You want a dentist who can provide you and your children with an esthetic, high-quality restoration using materials that will make your teeth look beautiful, be comfortable, and provide long-lasting dental health.
#6. “What advanced education has the dentist had within the past year?”
Dedicated dentists do not stop learning once they graduate from dental school. They keep up with the latest developments in their field by taking continuing education courses. While every state requires dentists to take 15 or more hours of continuing education every year, dedicated dentists, like Dr. Peck, take many more than the required number – even into the hundreds of hours level.
#7. “What can I do if someone from my family has a dental emergency?”
You are really asking if the dentist treats you and your family with respect and concern. You’re not a tooth with a problem. You’re a person with teeth. An excellent dentist, like Dr. Peck, will be available during off-hours to treat you or your family members with a dental emergency. If Dr. Peck is not available, there will be another dentist available to see you who Dr. Peck have personally approved to provide emergency dentistry on you and your family.
#8. “Does the dentist follow OSHA guidelines for infection control?”
The answer should be an unequivocal “YES.” That means wearing gloves and a mask, as well as sterilizing hand pieces and all other dental equipment in the office.
#9. “Does the dentist consider you a partner in your family’s treatment planning?”
Rather than just telling you what to do, the dentist should explain the results of the exam and work with you to develop a total treatment plan based on the big picture of your, or your children’s, oral health and wellness. Dr. Peck and you decide on a plan that fits your timeline and your budget, that takes into account your insurance, and that is centered on your family’s needs.
#10. “Does the dentist ask for a detailed medical history?”
This is an absolute must do. With a complete medical history, the dentist can determine allergies and possible drug interactions or intolerances. The most seemingly unrelated medical condition can have a big impact on dental care and lead to major consequences if ignored.
Why is this all so important?
Finding an outstanding dentist is vital to the oral health and overall happiness of your family. Strong statement? Not when you consider that a child’s healthy smile is a proven indicator of a bright and successful destiny. The reason is that healthy teeth and gums are now closely linked to overall health according to many recent studies that have found a connection between what happens in the mouth to diseases in other parts of the body. Unfortunately children are among those with the worst oral health in the country, partly because parents wait until the child goes to school before taking them to the dentist.
Recent research findings have linked chronic oral infections to diabetes, heart and lung disease, stroke, and low-birth weight babies. In addition, serious dental problems in children can undermine their self-esteem, lead to long-term stress and depression and interfere with normal physical functioning, such as breathing, swallowing, eating, and speaking.
What this all points to is that optimal oral health in children predicts a favorable future that includes overall health, high self-esteem, self-confidence, regular attendance at school, good grades, graduation, employability, success at job interviews and, perhaps more importantly, attainment of satisfying, life-long personal relationships.
Dr. Peck know that asking these questions will end with parents making the best decision. We want to be your family’s dental provider and we hope that you’ll ask us every one of these questions at your first appointment.