If your child is having problems with throat or ear infections over and over again, it might be time to ditch the pediatrician and make a switch to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor. ENTs are medical professionals that specialize in diseases and conditions of the ears, nose and throat. Not only are they clinicians (office doctors) they are surgeons as well.

Recurring infections in the upper respiratory system and ears can have a negative impact on your child’s normal development, as well as implications for their speech and language skills.

Many times the ear infections are caused by swelling in the tonsils and adenoids. The ear infection is actually secondary to a problem elsewhere. An ENT can properly diagnose problems with your child’s ears, tonsils, adenoids, sinuses and throat.

Finding the right ENT can seem like a big job. You don’t want to just open the phone book and trust your child’s health to the first name you see. So, how do you find the right ENT doctor for your child?

Do you need a pediatric ENT?

Any ENT is skilled and qualified to treat your child. However, the ENT specialty has a group of doctors that further specializes in the area of pediatric otolaryngology. Your child and you might feel more comfortable in the hands of someone who is familiar with treating younger patients. If you consider a standard ENT, make sure you ask if they have experience in treating children.

Ask your insurance carrier

The tonsil, adenoid, and ear conditions treated by ENTs are covered by medical insurance. At the same time, they can tell you what types of adenoid and tonsil conditions are covered by your insurance. You will find that when it comes to tonsils and adenoids, your child is probably well covered. The insurance company can also tell you if a visit to the ENT will require a referral from your child’s pediatrician or family physician.

Check out hospital affiliations

Since ENTs are trained as surgeons and many tonsil and adenoid treatments include a variety of surgical procedures; there is a good chance that your child may see the inside of a hospital as part of their treatment. You will want to be comfortable with any surgical facility used by the ENT.

Ask your family doctor

If you are uncomfortable asking the pediatrician for a referral to an ENT for your child’s tonsil and adenoid problems, then don’t hesitate to ask your personal physician for a referral. Your family doctor will be familiar with ENTs in the area and is a great source of information.

If you aren’t happy with the treatment your child is receiving for tonsil and adenoid problems, you should feel comfortable letting the pediatrician know. You might be pleasantly surprised to find they are more than willing to provide a referral. Don’t let your discomfort stand in the way of your child’s tonsil and adenoid health.