There’s a difference between a family dentist and a pediatric dentist. If you’re trying to decide between the two, consider the following.
Family dentists practice general dentistry for people of all ages. They treat plaque buildup and tooth decay. They also fill cavities and check on gum health, but most do not have specialized training in dealing with children.
A pediatric dentist practices oral health like a family dentist, but he’s a kid-expert, too. That’s because they get special training to learn how to handle kids. They also work with a team of hygienists and staff members with kid-friendly skills.
Pediatric dentists understand children’s behaviors and know how to make young patients feel comfortable, especially on their first visit. They can also treat dental issues specific to little mouths from infancy through the teen years. What’s more, they’re trained to treat children with special needs.
A children’s dentist can better address issues specific to younger children such as using a pacifier, thumbsucking, and bottle feeding. Baby teeth get cavities, too, and should be treated by a pediatric dentist to prevent further problems.
Unlike the offices of family dentists, pediatric practices look more like playgrounds and amusement centers. Many have murals of zoo animals, sea creatures, or other playful scenes, and a play area filled with toys and video games.
Pediatric hygienists use smaller tools and take the time to name each instrument and explain what it does. Your child is encouraged to ask questions and share the things they learn with you like how often they should brush and for how long.
Lastly, most pediatric offices give away prizes at the end of a visit. It’s all designed to make your child feel safe and happy when going to the dentist.
Yes, a family dentist can treat your child and it might be more convenient for you and your family. But a visit with a pediatric dentist may ward off a negative experience for your young one. All children should feel good about visiting the dentist and learning how to care for their teeth. Going to the dentist can be fun!