Commonly, many parents question if a pediatric dentist is better than a family dentist. What you should know is that both types of dentists are professionally trained in their field and either way you can’t go wrong with whatever type of dentist that you choose! However, when choosing the right dentist for either your entire family or just the kids, it really does boil down to what needs you have so that they can be matched with the right dentist.
Both pediatric and family (general) dentists are knowledgeable and capable of treating children with exceptional care. Many family dentists see children on a daily basis and welcome them just as much as a pediatric dentist would. If you already see a family dentist that you trust and feel comfortable with, you could certainly consider bringing the kids to him or her as well!
1. A large difference between a family dentist and a pediatric dentist is the continuing education that pediatric dentists go through for at least two additional years following the initial four years of dental school. During these minimal two years of additional training, pediatric dentist focus primarily on treating only children.
2. At a pediatric dental office, there is specialized equipment intended for children’s mouths. For example, if a child needs a root canal, a pediatric dentist would have the appropriate tools whereas a family dentist may not have tools readily available.
3. When entering a pediatric dental office, you can usually tell that great detail and effort has been put into making the office much more inviting for children. You may see paintings on the wall, bright colors or even TV screens on the ceiling for kids to watch movies while receiving dental work.
4. Pediatric dentists are excellent for addressing any special needs that children may have. For example, children with high levels of anxiety at the dentist may do better seeing a pediatric dentist since they have many methods to reduce amounts of anxiety in the dental chair. Additionally, pediatric dentists are specifically trained to care for children with special needs such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, learning disabilities, among many other needs. Certain conditions are likely to trigger dental problems, which would indicate the importance of bringing your child to see a pediatric dentist to prevent large issues from occurring or worsening.
What to do?
With the kinds of dentists that are out there, it can be difficult to make the final decision of whether to go to a pediatric dentist or family dentist and which is better. To help narrow down the tough decision of what works better for your family, try to make a list of what you are looking for in a dental professional. If you feel that it is important that your kids needs fit best with those of a pediatric dentist, this would be a good place to start. On the other hand, if you think that you might like to try a family dentist first, or current family dentist you can always try that and see how the visit goes. It is always possible that the family dentist works great for your children! If it doesn’t work out, you can always ask for a referral from a trusted family dentist to a pediatric dentist.