What are the Differences Between a Pediatric Dentist & a General Dentist?


Most families have a pediatrician who looks after their children’s overall health, but not everyone takes their child to see a pediatric dentist. Like a pediatrician, a pediatric dentist specializes in the oral health of children and teenagers.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children first see a dentist as early as six months of age and no later than their first birthday. During this time, your child’s baby teeth will come in and your dentist can examine the health of your child’s first few teeth. From this first visit, it is recommended that your child visit the dentist every 6 months.

Despite the availability of pediatric dentists and the importance of visiting the dentist at a young age, some only take their children to the general dentist, or worse, never take their children to see the dentist at all. And while a general dentist can provide care to your child, there are several advantages that a pediatric dentist can provide.

In this article, we’ll discuss those differences and explain why your child will benefit from seeing a pediatric dentist.

Pediatric Dentists Have More Training


All dentists will have a bachelor’s degree and four years of dental school training, but pediatric dentists go even further in their training. According to WebMD, “A pediatric dentist has at least two additional years of training beyond dental school.”

The extra two to three years of training focuses on the treatment of developing teeth, child behavior and psychology, making children feel comfortable, children’s physical growth, and the special requirements of children’s dentistry. They also receive training on treating children with special needs.

Pediatric Dentists Have More Experience with Children

Because pediatric dentists work exclusively with children, they will almost certainly have more experience than general dentists when it comes to treating children. This is definitely the case at Chester County Dentistry for Children!

Children have unique needs. For instance, their teeth are more susceptible to cavities, and losing teeth is actually part of their growing process. Not only do they have different dental needs, but children also behave differently than adults. Pediatric dentists have extensive and unique experience in talking with children, dealing with their emotions, and easing their fears. Part of the training process actually involves working in hospitals with children and dealing with extreme dental cases, so no challenge is too big for a pediatric dentist.

Pediatric Dentists are Less Scary


Visiting the dentist can be scary for some adults and even more so for children. But pediatric dentists take extra steps to ensure children feel comfortable while visiting. For instance, we use smaller dental equipment than general dentists would. They are specially designed for a child’s mouth, so they are more comfortable.

We also introduce each piece of equipment, one at a time. This way, your child will know exactly what tool is being used and why. We erase the fear of the unknown and involve the child every step of the way, slowly and without overwhelming them.

Pediatric Dentists Provide More Fun Environments

Because pediatric dentists focus on treating children, their offices are built for kids. They will find fun games and things to explore that you just wouldn’t see at a general dentist office. Everything from the waiting room to the dental chair is decorated to delight children. Our goal is to help children get excited about their next dental visit!

The Ability to Help with Habits

Most children need lots of help when it comes to taking care of their teeth. While a general dentist doesn’t need to worry about teaching adults how to brush their teeth, pediatric dentists do this consistently with their patients.

Not only can we provide fun toothbrushes and toothpaste, we can work with parents to devise plans that encourage their child to take care of their teeth. Each child is different, which is why we help each child individually with developing great habits that will enable a lifetime of oral health.

Focus on Preventative Treatments

For various reasons, children are particularly susceptible to tooth decay. Pediatric dentists can offer several treatments, on top of the training and habit building they provide, that will help prevent tooth decay. These include sealants, fluoride treatments, space maintainers, and more.

Preventing tooth decay is far less painful and easier to manage than reacting to problems as they occur. Since pediatric dentists know exactly what types of mouth problems children deal with, they are specially equipped to help prevent them.

Experience the Difference for Yourself


If you’d really like to learn the difference between a pediatric dentist and a general dentist, then contact us today and schedule an appointment. Your child’s initial examination will quickly demonstrate the difference to you.

We love meeting new patients and are passionate about giving kids a great experience at the dentist. If you’re in the West Chester, Lionville, or Kennett Square area then please contact us today and schedule your child’s first appointment.

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