Here at Park Lawn Dental, parents often ask us what the difference between a pediatric dentist and a general dentist is. Many want to know if it is beneficial to switch their child to a pediatric dentist.
Below, we outline the key differences between general and pediatric dentists and share why it might be best to switch your child to a pediatric dentist!
What is a pediatric dentist?
Qualifications & Training
Pediatric Dentistry is one of nine dental specialties recognized by the Canadian Dental Association.
When a dental school graduate immediately moves on to practice as a dentist, they become a general dentist.
To become a pediatric dentist in Canada, dental school graduates must complete an additional advanced education program in pediatric dentistry. Upon completing the program, the Provincial Dental Regulatory Authority designates them as a pediatric specialist in their province.
What do pediatric dentists do?
Pediatric dentists have specialized training in the specific oral health care needs of children, ranging from infants to teenagers.
Pediatric dentists address the following dental care needs specific to children:
- Baby teeth care
- Fillings for tooth cavities or defects
- Diagnosis of oral conditions associated with diseases, such as diabetes, asthma, congenital heart defect, hay fever, and ADHD
- 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
Does my child need to go to a special dentist for children?
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.
That means that you can bring your child to your own dentist, and he or she will be well qualified to care for your child's teeth.
For children with unusual or more serious dental problems, or for those with disabilities, the specialized training of a pediatric dentist may be required.