What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a general dentist?

While general dentists address the needs of a variety of patients, pediatric dentists specialize in the oral health care of children, from infants to teenagers. Here, our Vancouver dentists discuss the differences between pediatric dentists and general dentists.

Here at  Image Smiles, parents often ask us what the difference between a pediatric dentist and a general dentist is and what the benefits of bringing their children to a pediatric dentist are.

Below, our Vancouver dentists outline the key differences between general and pediatric dentists and explain situations in which a pediatric specialist might be beneficial.

Pediatric Dentists: What Do They Do?

Qualifications & Training for Pediatric Dentistry

Pediatric Dentistry is one of nine dental specialties recognized by the Canadian Dental Association.

To become a dentist, you must go to dental school. Some dental school graduates move on immediately to practice as dentists, and these are general dentists.

To become a pediatric dentist in Canada, dental school graduates must complete an accredited advanced education program in pediatric dentistry. Once they have completed this program, they will attain a specialty designation from the Provincial Dental Regulatory Authority in their province.

What is the focus of pediatric dentists?

Pediatric dentists have specialized training in the specific oral health care needs of children, ranging from infants to teenagers.

Here are some areas that pediatric dentists specialize in:

  • Baby teeth care
  • Preventive dental care for children: oral hygiene cleaning, fluoride treatments, nutrition and diet recommendations, etc.
  • Infant oral health exams, including risk assessment for cavities
  • Early orthodontic assessment & treatment: straightening teeth and correcting misalignment and bite problems (malocclusion)
  • Dental care for children with special needs
  • Habit counseling: thumb sucking and pacifier habit-breaking
  • Fillings for tooth cavities or defects
  • Diagnosis of oral conditions associated with diseases, such as diabetes, asthma, congenital heart defect, hay fever, and ADD / ADHD

Is it necessary for my child to be seen by a pediatric dentist?

General dentists have the skills and training necessary to care for children's teeth, so in most cases, sending children to a pediatric specialist is not necessary.

Your dentist has the required skills and experience to care for your child's teeth and some patients find it easier to book visits together as a family.

For children with unusual or more serious dental problems, or for those with disabilities, the specialized training of a pediatric dentist may be required.

If you are looking to book an appointment at Image Smiles Dental for your child, please get in touch with our team today!

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