Why go to a Pediatric Dentist Instead of a General Dentist?
When do people ask the question how is a child’s dentist different from a regular adult dentist, many times they may even begin to wonder if there is even a different name or are they both just simply called dentists? What is a kids dentist called? Are the differences major or can you simply take your child to any dental office and it will be just fine?
While there are numerous differences, they ultimately revolve around one core aspect. The fact is that a children’s dentist is going to be trained in especially working with children while a general dentist will not. Before we get into all the specifics about the ways in which a kids dentist will be different from a general dentist, let’s briefly check in with some experts on orthodontic care and see what the professionals have to say about the importance of pediatric dentistry and the differences between dentists.
It is important for a pediatric dentist clinic practice to be set up to treat children and have knowledgeable staff who are comfortable providing care for children (Rich JP et al.,2006). After all, a child who is traumatized by a dental visit when young will carry that for the rest of his or her life.
Not all dentists are taught professional behavior towards child patients (Rich JP et al.,2006). That doesn’t mean that they can’t treat children, but rather it is just not their specialty.
General dentists do not generally receive sufficient educational and especially clinical experiences concerning pediatric treatment (Rich JP et al.,2006).
What is a children’s dentist called?
As you can see, the experts are quite unanimous on the fact that a children’s dentist is very different than a general dentist and has specific characteristics, benefits, and things that set them apart. But let’s answer our very first question that we mentioned initially, what is a children’s dentist called anyway?
They may come in a variety of different names when you look online, but by far the most common is simply pediatric dentistry. Just like how pediatricians are doctors who work with your children, pediatric dentistry is the school of medicine that deals with tooth development, gum health, and oral care for children. When you are looking online to find out if an office will be good for your child, pediatric dentistry is the keyword you’re looking for.
Although there are many offices that will still examine children even if they are just general dentists, it’s important to know that you will get a better quality of care and service for your child if you take them to an office that is specially trained to work with your child. This can often lead parents to ask the question how soon should I make an appointment to visit a pediatric dentist? The truth of the matter is that your very first dental appointment might even be something you should schedule before your child is even born.
It may seem strange but here is the reason why – shortly after the birth of your child you are going to be quite busy and so making the time to visit an office to get advice on how to care for your infant’s oral health and cleanliness needs might feel pretty low on your list. However, by meeting with your pediatric dentist before your child is born, you can find out the best ways of helping to care for and protect your child’s oral health even before teeth develop.
Even if you choose not to have a visit before your child arrives, the vast majority of pediatric dentists do recommend that your child should get a checkup before their first year as this can help form a baseline for the dental office and also ensure that their baby teeth are coming in correctly.
We looked at a couple of things above that a kids dentist might do such as give advice to parents on how to protect the oral health of their little ones, but what are some of the other aspects that set a kids dentist apart?
As mentioned it can be useful for you as a parent to make sure that your child gets the best medical care available. To do that it’s important to make sure that they are visiting a pediatric dentist who can help treat any of their needs. While it’s important to make sure that you visit your local pediatric dental office early before your child’s first year, that should by no means be the last time you visit. Making sure that your children’s baby teeth come in is important as is the importance of making sure their first adult teeth come in properly as well.
If you have a family with a history of difficult teething, or your child’s teeth seem to be coming in slowly or not at all, you have excellent reasons to visit your kid’s dentist and get a professional opinion. While your general dentist may have something to add on the matter, a person specifically trained on how to work with children will be far more experienced in giving you better advice.
Pediatric dentist vs general dentist
When comparing pediatric dentist vs general dentist, what are the big differences? The first big difference is by far the most important, specialization. While all children’s dentists are also experienced in dentistry in general, not all general dentists have got the additional certification to work with children.
Children oftentimes have different types of orthodontic and oral problems than those that may affect adults later in life. While adult dentists will often focus on maintaining the health of adult teeth and gums, pediatric dentists are of course worried about teeth coming in and making sure that their teeth develop properly.
Best kids dentist
But how can you find the best dentist? While parents ask that repeatedly, it’s fortunately not too difficult of a question to answer. The best dentist is one who is going to make you feel like family, one that will take your insurance or can offer affordable payment plans so you can get the dental care you need at a cost you can afford, will have the right specialization of pediatric dentistry, and above all will make sure that your little one not only is not afraid to visit the dental office but can actually make visiting the dental office an experience your child enjoys. Good people skills and good children skills are absolute musts when it comes to being the best kids dentist.
Although both general dentists and pediatric dentists are in fact dentists, there are some significant differences between pediatric dentists and regular dentists.
Firstly, it’s important to know that all dentists have undergone rigorous training at a university to obtain a dental degree and are highly qualified to assess, examine, and treat conditions pertaining to human oral health. Most adults who visit a dentist typically visit a general dentist. Pediatric dentists on the other hand specialize in treating the concerns and challenges in the mouths of young patients such as children and young teenagers.
As mentioned above, a general dentist must have completed a minimum number of years of undergraduate university study and dental school before becoming a qualified dentist. However, once this is complete, those who plan to specialize in the field of pediatrics must take additional training to become dental pediatricians. This additional training is generally about two or three years of specialized training after the undergraduate years of dental school. After this training, the dentist must prove with an exam that they are qualified to treat children.
Furthermore, pediatric dentists are also qualified to treat children under anesthesia or sedation. This is a special case and different from treating adults under sedation and can be more challenging than for adults. It is not uncommon for pediatric dentists to be required to complete hospital training and education on how to treat younger patients with severe oral health problems that require sedation.
Rich, J. P., 3rd, Straffon, L., &Inglehart, M. R. (2006). General dentists and pediatric dental patients: the role of dental education. Journal of dental education, 70(12), 1308–1315.