Taking a trip to the dentist is stressful for everyone, but when it comes to children, the experience can be even more intimidating. All of the tools, sounds, and unfamiliar faces invading their personal space can make any child dread going to the dentist, unless the environment presents itself as a safe and fun place. That’s why it’s important to choose a dentist that best fits your child’s needs. But how do you know which one is the right choice? Possibly the first decision to make is whether to send your child to a general dentist or pediatric dentist. Why? What’s the difference? Well, let us explain.
Although both pediatric dentists and general dentists have the capacity to provide dental care to children, their difference lies in the amount of training that each is required to complete. Both pediatric and general dentists must obtain a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) after their undergraduate degree. It’s what they do after receiving a DDS or DMD that accounts for the key difference.
In the case of a pediatric dentist, the doctor has elected to pursue a speciality certification in pediatric dentistry, which requires an additional two years of training during their residency. Through this training, pediatric dentists learn specifically how to work with children, understand how to address their needs, make them comfortable, and how to identify and address specific dental issues that children experience. The additional training covers dental health for infants, children, teens, and children with special needs.
Regular or general dentists typically treat adults, and tend to focus on problems more specific to permanent teeth. General dentists diagnose, prevent and treat issues that arise with adult teeth, including overall general health needs. They can also treat children, although they have not undergone additional training to receive a specialization in pediatric dentistry. Some of their common treatments include:
Pediatric dentists are specially trained to work with a child’s developing teeth and jaw, child behavior, physical growth and development, and children with special needs. They often treat issues like tooth decay and tooth placement, crowding, crooked teeth, and missing teeth. Since children are more prone to tooth decay, pediatric dentists also help prevent and treat this issue before it has the chance to impact permanent teeth. Some of their typical treatments include:
We know it can be challenging to deal with a child’s anxiety, particularly when it comes to making trips to the dentist. That’s why choosing a pediatric dentist over a general dentist may be the key to making this necessary task easier. With their specialized training, pediatric dentists are often better equipped to deal with issues specific to children. They likely have more experience addressing and navigating challenges related to children’s oral health, and tend to have offices designed to make a visit to the dentist fun, engaging, and non-threatening. Pediatric dentists also use smaller tools, making it more comfortable for your child to receive care.
Here at Behind the Smile, we take pride in providing our patients and their parents with the highest quality care in a compassionate, gentle, and child-friendly environment. Call our office or complete our online form to schedule an appointment, or if you’re still researching, feel free to request an office tour to see what we’re all about.