How do I find the
best dentist for my child?

The internet has made finding dental providers for your child so much easier. It's almost too easy and a bit overwhelming to pick an option for a good kids dentist. 

Here’s some insight to hopefully help you in choosing the best dentist for your child:

  1. Pediatric Dentist versus General (Family) Dentist: There is a real difference between a pediatric dentist who has acquired years of additional formal training, caring for kids and has the specialized experience to do what your child may need many more times than a typical general dentist.
  2. Type of Education: There are about 50 different pediatric residency programs and not all of them provide the same quality of education. Yet, it's quite difficult for a parent to know the quality of education their pediatric dentist has received. But, being a Board Certified pediatric dentist is a simpler way to know and verify that your pediatric dentist continues to keep their academic skills sharp while staying board certified. 
  3. Technology versus Age: Younger dentists will typically be more uptodate on recent techniques and their office (if actually owned by them) will be newer and more technologically advanced. Younger pediatric dentists may also have a bit more patience with kids. The older providers will typically have diagnosed way more (less likely to make a mistake) and will have less turn over in their staff. That may mean better continuity of care.
  4. Reputation: Referrals are key. Your friends and neighbors may be your best referral sources. If someone has a child or a scenario similar to yours and can vouch for a specific pediatric dentist, this is usually the best indicator of how your experience will be.
  5. Professional Recommendations: You can also ask your child’s pediatrician, pharmacist or your own dentist for recommendations
  6. Reviews: Online reviews can help but beware. There are so many different online review sites (google, facebook, rateabiz, angie's list…etc),  and none more popular than Yelp.  Read more than one source as some of these sites are paid to play (directly or indirectly), including the biggest of them. They will often contact the dental office and if the office does not accept their offer to advertise (or they advertise and cancel after several months), the good reviews disappear and bad reviews appear.
  7. Team Experience: If you have a child with special needs, look for a pediatric dentist who is compassionate and patient. Ask if the dentist and staff have experience handling anxious children in difficult situations. Does the kids dentist have hospital privileges and experience? If an autistic child has a lot of dental work needs, they may need to be treated in a hospital setting. 

Here are some questions you can ask when looking for the best dentist for your child: 

We understand that it’s a lot of work to find the best dentist for your child, but if you take your time and research, the result will be worth it. It’s important that you find a pediatric dentist and staff that will provide your child with the quality of care they deserve and where you both feel comfortable and at ease. 

Here’s another article with some more good tips in finding a pediatric dentistry.

If you would like to schedule a consultation please call us: (858) 693-5677 or set up a Virtual Consultation with Dr. J

Do you have a question about your child’s oral health that you would like to submit to #AskDrJ, click here to submit your question

J. Shahangian


Dr. J is a board certified pediatric dentist and owner of Scripps Pediatric Dentistry & Brush n Brace, pediatric dental offices located in San Diego, CA. He is not only a Diplomat with the board but now also has Fellow status with the AAPD. He is a proud father of 3 beautiful girls, a San Diego native, loves soccer and is passionate about pediatric oral health. His mission is battling the number 1 disease that he has seen take over our beloved children. #AskDrJ provides answers and solutions to parents questions & concerns regarding their children's oral health. Click here for a full list of articles from #AskDrJ 

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