What is the difference between a general dentist that sees kids and a Pediatric Dentist?

Just like a pediatrician that focuses on a child’s overall health, a pediatric dentist specializes in the oral health of children, teenagers, and patients with special needs.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that in order to prevent dental problems, your child should see a pediatric dentist with the eruption of their first tooth, or no later than his/her first birthday. Pediatric dentist continue to care for patients until their late teenage years.

While a general dentist can provide care and recommendations for the oral health of your child, there are several advantages to seeing a pediatric dentist.


Pediatric Dentists have more training in treating children

All dentists go to dental school for four years to earn the degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD). In addition to this training, pediatric dentists spend 2-3 additional years in specializing in treating children, teenagers, and patients with special needs.

During their specialty training, pediatric dentists receive extensive training to provide dental care for children of all ages and those with special health care needs. Pediatric dentists learn how to treat children in a traditional setting, as well as how to treat patients with different forms of sedation options including nitrous oxide (laughing gas), conscious sedation and treatment in the operating room under general anesthesia. Pediatric dentists also learn how to work with other specialist doctors and are often part of the care team for patients with cleft lip and palate, hemophilia, inpatient care, neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), oncology, and transplant.

Their specialization allows them to provide treatment for a wide variety of children’s treatment needs including regular cleanings and check-ups, treating of tooth decay/cavities, behavior management, malocclusion and emergency care.

Because children have unique needs and behave differently than adults, children tend to feel more comfortable seeing a pediatric dentist. Since pediatric dentists specialize in children, they have extensive experiences in talking to children, understanding their emotions and easing their fears.  Pediatric dentists also use dental equipment and instruments specially designed for children.


Pediatric Dentists Provide Fun Environments

Pediatric dental offices are built with children in mind. From the entrance and waiting room to the operatories and dental chair, everything is kid friendly. The goal of pediatric dentists is to make visits fun and make children excited about coming back to the dentist!


Creating good habits

Parents need help when it comes to taking care of their little one’s teeth. Pediatric dentists spend time educating parents on prevention strategies, brushing techniques, nutritional guidance, and how to deal with common habits. Each child is different and that is why pediatric dentists focus on treating each child individually to focus on his/her needs. Other prevention strategies include sealants, fluoride treatments, space maintainers, and more. Establishing good oral health habits from a young age is important for a lifetime of healthy smiles.

Are you interested in hearing more about pediatric dentistry for your child? If you want to know more, call to schedule an appointment and get to know our pediatric dentists at our office! We look forward to meeting you!


We will do our best to get back to you in a timely manner! You can always call the office for more immediate attention or for emergencies. 262-241-0400