If you’re a parent with a young child, you understand the importance of early dental care. The ADA recommends that children see the dentist for the first time by the age of one or as soon as their first tooth appears.

So pretty early on, you’re faced with a choice – which dentist should you take your child to visit? There are pediatric dentists and general dentists who also treat kids. You may wonder what the difference is and why you should choose a pediatric dentist over a general one.

Read on to examine the topic of pediatric dentist vs general dentist – which one should you choose?

What Is a General Dentist?

A general dentist is a primary care dental provider. He or she is qualified to carry out a wide range of dental procedures, from treating cavities to fitting bridges and crowns.

A general dentist can care for the whole family. They have all completed at least 7 years of education and training to qualify. They are also educators, training the whole family to take good care of their oral health. 

What Is a Pediatric Dentist?

A pediatric dentist is a general dentist who specializes in treating children up to the age of 18.

But wait, can’t a general dentist treat kids as well? Sure they can, and many do. Lots of family dentists will take care of the whole family.

The difference is that a pediatric dentist has taken additional training in children’s dentistry. They are true specialists and have a more in-depth understanding of how kids’ mouths work. This allows them to tailor treatments to their needs.

Another cool benefit of seeing a pediatric dentist is that they understand kids’ concerns. They create a relaxed, kid-friendly environment in their office. They only treat kids, so their entire focus is on making it as relaxed and enjoyable for them as possible.

What Extra Training do Pediatric Dentists Have?

A pediatric dentist is a fully qualified general dentist. But in addition, they complete 2 years of extra training in pediatric dentistry after dental school. 

During this training, they develop a deeper understanding of issues that affect children’s teeth. This includes:

  • Thumb sucking
  • Tooth decay in primary teeth
  • Shark teeth (adult teeth emerging behind primary teeth)
  • Over retained primary teeth
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Dental anxiety
  • Sedation dentistry

Pediatric dentists are also trained to spot orthodontic issues that are emerging in childhood. Early treatment is often faster, more comfortable, and easier than treatment in adolescence or adulthood.

What Specialist Equipment Do They Use?

One of the advantages of visiting a pediatric dentist is that they use kid-sized equipment. Their instruments are smaller, perfect for the tiny mouths of babies up to adolescents. 

They also have the tools needed to educate children about oral hygiene. Good oral hygiene isn’t just about having a great smile. It also protects your child’s overall health

They’ll use specially designed models and videos to teach your kids how to keep their teeth clean in a fun way. The relaxed atmosphere will make your kids actually look forward to seeing the dentist rather than dreading it. 

How Can They Help Anxious Kids?

Pediatric dentists have years of experience in helping anxious kids relax and get the treatment they need. First of all, they’re endlessly patient. They know how to communicate and manage their behavior.

Plus, they often use fun colors, music, and other cool features to help your child relax. Only when your child is in the right state will they begin their examination.

Benefits of Visiting a Pediatric Dentist

Pediatric dentists are experts in preventative dentistry for kids. 

First, they will help your child to develop excellent oral hygiene habits. This can help them to avoid cavities and gum disease. They’ll teach them how to brush and floss their teeth correctly. 

Six-monthly checkups allow them to check that your child’s teeth are developing properly. They can recommend and provide dental sealants.

Sealants create a barrier over the tooth enamel. They can help to protect their teeth from food and bacteria and prevent cavities. This is a painless procedure that provides excellent protection for your child’s teeth.

Restorative Dentistry

Even with the best care, children will develop cavities from time to time. Pediatric restorative dentistry involves filling teeth to keep them healthy and strong. At times, your child may need other treatments such as crowns and extractions.

Pediatric dentists also specialize in sedation dentistry for kids. This is perfect for kids with dental anxiety or special needs. Sedation allows your child to have the treatment they need but without the stress of being awake during the procedure.

Pediatric Dentist vs General Dentist – Which Is the Right Choice?

Whether you choose a pediatric dentist or a general dentist, you’ll be visiting a dedicated professional.

The advantage of seeing a pediatric dentist is that they’re a true specialist in children’s dental care. Their offices are set up just for kids. They have the experience, equipment, and skills to put your child at ease.

They also have an in-depth understanding of children’s development. All of this makes them a truly outstanding choice. They’re the best way to set your child up for a lifetime of great oral health.

Choosing a pediatric dentist comes down to a few factors. First, make sure they’re close to where you live or your child goes to school. This will make it much easier for you to visit them regularly.

Make sure their hours fit with your family’s schedule. Finally, schedule an initial consultation and get a feel for the place before making a final decision.

Choose Capitol Kids Dentistry for Your Child

The choice between a pediatric dentist vs a general dentist is one that every family needs to weigh for themselves. But when you choose a pediatric dentist, you’re choosing a specialist. You can benefit from all their years of additional training and experience and give your child the best possible start in life.

At Capitol Kids Dentistry, Dr. Megan A. Haggerty is eager to welcome your child and provide them with great dental care. 

Contact us today to schedule your first appointment!