When it comes to the oral health of your child, there is no room for compromise. Any parent would do their best to ensure that their child gets the best possible care from a qualified and experienced dentist. One of ways to ensure this is by asking your dentist the following simple, yet critical questions.
What are your qualifications?
This is a great question because you can get the answers you need from both verbal and non-verbal responses to it. A qualified dentist, and his/her staff, should have no problem answering this question. However, should they seem uncomfortable with the question or appear defensive, you should probably find another dentist.
The information you should receive after asking this question is where the dentist was trained. In addition, you should also receive information about any specialisations that the dentist may have, which should help you determine whether he/she is qualified to deal with your child's issue.
It is important to note that you can verify the dentist's qualification through your local dentist society, state or national dental board, or better yet, you can ask your insurance provider to verify the qualifications.
What are the available treatment options?
Having examined your child, the dentist should be able to tell you what is going on and what your treatment options are. This is important because you need to know and prepare your child for how long the treatment will take, and prepare yourself for the cost implications should there be a referral to a specialist.
What is your emergency plan?
There could be a situation where your child has a dental emergency after office hours and you should find out if the dentist has a plan for such situations. Some dentists may be able to handle the emergency or will refer you to a colleague in the event of their absence.
Make sure to verify the qualifications and payments plans of the colleague for yourself, if he/she is not within the same dental practice as your dentist.
What are your payment options?
If you have insurance, you should find out whether the dentist accepts your insurance. In addition, you should find out if the specialists that you may be referred to accept your insurance. This is important because dental procedures can be quite expensive and extensive, and out-of-pocket payments may not be sustainable in the long run.
If you don't have insurance, check which kind of payment the dentist can receive i.e. do they take credit cards? DO they have a cash payment plan? Can they take personal checks?
Remember to get cost estimates of the procedures being done. This is especially important for those with insurance because you may be required by your insurer to make part of the payment.
Doing your research beforehand could help you assess the quality of care you may receive from the dentist. For instance, you could find out what the different dental specialties are and what the latest procedures, are so that you can understand what your dentist is recommending for your child. Always remember that you can get a second opinion if you are uncertain about the one you have received.