pediatric dentist

What are pediatric dentists?

If the phrase “we’re going to the dentist” has your kids jumping for joy, then read no further. You’re an alien allstar parent only here to make the rest of us feel bad.

If you aren’t so lucky, grab a pen and paper…

Dental care, just like regular visits to the doctor, is a vital part of your child’s healthy development. This means that we all face the intimidating process of picking the right dentist for our child and then suffer through actually getting said child to and from the appointment without an all out brawl.

The good news is that there are dentists out there who know that teeth cleanings are not your six year old’s favorite afternoon activity, and they’ve actually gone through years of school to learn the best ways to care for our kids’ teeth. Members of this fantastic breed of dental care providers are called pediatric dentists.

Pediatric dentists provide all the same care for your child as general dentists, but they do so with a specific expertise in caring for children in an environment designed to make your child comfortable. This requires a more thorough understand of a child’s teeth, jaw, facial structure, and general development. Pediatric dentists also typically create a child-centered office atmosphere that differentiates them from a general doctor’s office.

Educational Differences

Pediatric dentists go through the normally required four years of dental school plus two more years of training focused on the specific dental needs of the following groups:

  • infants
  • children
  • teens
  • children with special needs

Services Provided

Pediatric dentists perform a wide range of services including but not limited to:

  • Routine cleanings
  • Cavity and tooth repair
  • Infant oral exams
  • Nutrition and dietary advice for young teeth
  • Habit counseling (regarding the impacts of pacifiers and thumb sucking)
  • Identification of oral conditions related to internal diseases
  • Early advice for correcting bites (orthodontics)

Should I choose a general dentist or a pediatric dentist?

At the end of the day, that is your decision as a parent. All general, family practice dentists are trained in pediatric dentistry in dental school, but only pediatric dentists go through the extra training to specialize in children’s needs and often go the extra mile to make kids feel at ease with oral care. You’ll often find that pediatric dental offices are designed with kids in mind like in the images below.  

If your child is a little antsy about their routine teeth cleaning, or if you feel that they might need some extra care, consider looking into a pediatric dentist. It could make those yearly checkups more bearable for the person who looks forward to them the least – and that just might be you.