The Difference Between a General Dentist and a Pediatric Dentist

What Is the Difference Between a General Dentist and a Pediatric Dentist?

Good oral hygiene habits should be formed and developed during childhood. And as parents, it is our responsibility to teach our kids these habits and set a good example for them. Naturally one of the most commonly asked questions from parents is, “the difference is between a pediatric dentist and a general dentist?”

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry or AAPD, you should take your child to the dentist before he/she reaches the age of one year old. Ideally, your child should visit a dentist when the first tooth appears. With that said, we feel passionate about educating parents on choosing the right dentist for their kids. Just as it is important to find the right pediatrician for your child, finding the right pediatric dentist should become a priority early on as well. 

As many parents do, you are probably asking yourself whether you can bring your child to a general dentist or whether you specifically need to find a pediatric dentist. In order to better answer this question, it is helpful to know what is the difference between a general dentist and a pediatric dentist

First, it is crucial to understand that children and adults are different. Your child’s body is continuously growing and developing.

Pediatric dentists are the equivalent of your child’s pediatrician. These dental professionals have undergone two to three years of additional training after undergraduate, and dental school. Their practice becomes specialized in the treatment of infants, children and adolescents, including those with special needs.

General or family dentists, on the other hand, can treat all members of the family, including adults. They too have received training related to the treatment of the needs of children but not to the same extent pediatric dentists go to further extend their education.

Pediatric dentists have been specially trained to care for children as they undergo the different stages of childhood. But more importantly, these dentists also play a crucial role in helping children grasp the idea that seeing a dentist which should not be a scary endeavor. Pediatric dentists seek to build and foster an environment that is safe and friendly for kids.

Pediatric dentists are also trained to oversee the growth and development of your child’s teeth. They have received special training that enable them to identify potential problems related to the growth and development of your child’s teeth. Identifying these early on can help prevent these from worsening and causing more problems in the future.

Which dentist should your child see?

Ideally, you should seek a pediatric dentist in your area for your child. However, if you cannot find a specialist near where you live, you can take your child to the family dentist. The important thing here is that your child receives professional dental care and guidance early in his/her young life. As always, if you live in the Sacramento, Elk Grove, or Pleasant Hill area, our staff at Surfside Kids Dental welcome you! Check out our website for more information.

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