Why Choose a Pediatric Dentist

Why Choose a Pediatric Dentist vs. a General Dentist

Team Pediatric Dentistry

Receiving proper dental care during childhood is essential for the child to have optimal health and happiness. For that care, a dentist who is professionally trained and experienced in treating children, known as a pediatric dentist, has many benefits which can lead to more positive outcomes in both the child’s dental and overall health. While both pediatric dentists and general dentists are qualified to provide basic dental care to children, pediatric dentists are child-focused only and really cater to the needs of the younger population.

Pediatric vs. General Dentists - What’s the Difference?

The primary distinction between a pediatric dentist and a general dentist lies in their specialized training. Both must attain a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) following their undergraduate education. However, pediatric dentists are required to undertake an additional two or more years of residency training focused on pediatric care. This specialized training prepares pediatric dentists to meet the unique dental needs of children from infancy through their teenage years, giving them a significant advantage in this area. General dentists, while well-versed in broad dental care, are equipped to handle routine preventive and minor restorative procedures for children but may lack the in-depth training for more complex pediatric dental issues.

Why Choose a Pediatric Dentist?

There are many advantages to choosing a pediatric dentist for your child or teenager’s dental care. With extensive education and training beyond their four-year degree, pediatric dentists cover child-specific dental topics beyond just procedures, including child psychology, physical development, and oral conditions exclusive to children and adolescents. This extra coursework and hands-on training gives pediatric dentists a better understanding of children’s dental health needs and allows them to provide more effective care.

In addition to a better understanding of children’s physical, mental, and emotional needs during dental procedures, pediatric dentists are also trained to curate the dental experience for children from the moment they walk through the front door. Child-sized furniture, bright decor colors, and play areas equipped with games and puzzles all make the dental setting more warm and inviting to children, easing their anxiety about any procedure to come.

Along with child-focused environments and procedures, pediatric dentists are also able to give parents and caregivers age-specific information about best dental practices and preventative measures to avoid future dental issues. Advice may include guidance on fluoride use, how to manage transitioning to permanent teeth care, thumb-sucking deterrents, and more. The pediatric dentist will also provide extensive advice and guidance on dental hygiene habits, which is the foundation of a healthy smile into adulthood.

Making an Informed Decision for Your Child & Family

For children and adolescents with dental anxiety or existing issues, a pediatric dentist is the best way to provide them with the most effective dental experience possible. Their targeted education, specialized training, and focused experience give them an advantage in meeting a child’s unique dental needs. However, for families who all want to use the same dentist or who may live in areas where access to pediatric dentists is not easy, using a general dental practice may be the better option. The decision should be made by considering all factors involved and will be different for each child and family. No matter which dentist the family chooses, regular preventative dental care is essential to maintaining optimal health.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pediatric Dentists

Why is preventative dental care important for children?

Preventative dental care is crucial for children to build the foundation of oral health that will stick with them for a lifetime. By learning good dental hygiene habits early, practicing them regularly, and receiving proper routine dental exams and cleanings, children can avoid the many pitfalls of poor dental health. Poor dental health has been shown to contribute to eating and speech difficulties, poor social skills, and self-esteem issues.

When should children get their teeth cleaned?

Children should begin seeing a dentist as soon as their first baby tooth erupts, as early dental care is an indicator of lifelong dental health. This age varies drastically from child to child, but most children get their first tooth when they are 4-7 months old. After that initial visit, children need to visit the dentist at least every six months for exams and cleanings.

Call Tender Smiles 4 Kids 

Pediatric dentists are able to provide an elevated level of care for child and adolescent patients, addressing both basic dental concerns and more complex issues. For the best pediatric dental practice in New Jersey, look no further than Tender Smiles 4 Kids

Please contact us at one of our convenient New Jersey offices to schedule an appointment.