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3 Main Differences Between Regular and Pediatric Dentists

January 23, 2018

Many people assume there is no real difference between a regular dentist, and a pediatric practitioner. While it is safe to bring your child to a non-specialized dentist, your young family will be better suited visiting a professional with specific training in childcare. Pediatric dentists have undergone additional education than regular dentists, and have chosen to focus their knowledge and passion on children.

Here are 3 main differences between regular dentists and pediatric specialists:

1. Additional and Specialized Education.

Every oral health practitioner undergoes the same, basic education and on-the-job training. Many dental health practitioners will immediately go on to work in a practice, while pediatric dentists complete an additional two years of education, focusing specifically on treating the oral health of children and adolescents. Not only does this education include the differences in growth and health of a child’s mouth versus an adult’s, but also includes an understanding of the differences in behavior, psychology, and emotional reactions.

2. Education in Special Needs Children.

Even though your regular dentist may have completed the basics of pediatric dentistry, they have not had the education in working with children of special needs and disabilities. This can be an incredibly difficult task, and is well-worth choosing a practitioner with specialized knowledge of dealing with these kind of situations. A regular dentist may not have the experience or mental capacity to handle a special needs child or adolescent, and may result in a negative experience for everyone involved.

Going beyond the mental health differences, a pediatric dentist with knowledge in special needs children will also understand the different types of natural defects and deformities that can come with under-developed growth and maturity.

3. Specialized Treatment Options.

Since children are still growing and developing, they require specialized treatment options that only pediatric dentists can perform. Certain precautions need to take place in the dental health regimen of a child in order to avoid more serious treatments creeping up in the future. A pediatric dentist has been trained to identify any potential risks in a child’s oral health, taking a deeper look into the child’s diet, and the mother’s health history. Pediatric dentists can evaluate a child’s mouth by taking into account certain lifestyle habits, such as sucking their thumb or pacifier, as well as a sugar-filled diet. Preventative care may be the most important aspect of pediatric dentistry, since many children start seeing the dentist as an infant. It is crucial to begin teaching your child of the importance of their oral health when they’re still very young.

Every parents wants the best treatment for their family, and your child or adolescent will benefit greatly from a pediatric dentist’s specialized knowledge, experience, and passion for children. A pediatric dentist has the insight and training to determine what may be causing certain issues, appropriate treatments to recommend, as well as how to properly handle the varying emotional levels of young patients.


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