If you think dental professionals are all similar, you wouldn’t be way out of the mark because all dentists probe and poke in the mouth and continuously provide advice on caring for your teeth. However, what would you think if told a pediatric dentist is better for your child than your family dentist? You’d probably think, “that’s another fine mess I’ve gotten myself into.”
Whether you like it or not, pediatric dentistry is entirely different from family dentistry, and both professionals have acquired qualifications suitable for their unique professions. Both are experts at looking after your teeth, but some, like pediatric dentists, choose to specialize in dealing exclusively with children. Similarly, other dental professionals specialize in orthodontics, endodontics, and periodontists, which are dental specialties needed to treat oral issues.
All dental professionals must graduate from dental school to acquire a DDS or DDM degree, which even a pediatric dentist does. However, before specializing in children’s dentistry, the professional must study an additional two to three years specializing in their field of practice. Other courses offered by the American Academy of pediatric dentistry may also be considered by the professionals caring for children’s oral health.
Family dentists care for the teeth of adults and children and people of all ages without restricting themselves to exclusive treatments for any patient. Family dentists offer convenience to patients who do not want or cannot visit different practices for every member of their household for dental care. They are a convenient solution for many people who may not have the time to spare from their hectic schedules on dental treatments needed by different members of the family.
On the other hand, pediatric dentists restrict the practice solely for children starting from infancy until adolescence. Understanding the specific needs of children merely eight months old or interacting with toddlers, teenagers, and any age between them confidently is a specialty of pediatric dentists. Although capable of treating every patient, family dentists do not receive the education needed to care for young children or understand their specific requirements. They are incapable of calming down children in stressful situations, which is merely a routine day in the office for a pediatric dentist.
Besides being capable of caring even for children with special needs, pediatric dentists are experts in providing dietary and nutritional advice for children with counseling for any habits that may affect the child’s teeth development. It includes habits like thumbsucking and pacifier use.
Pediatric dentists provide preventive dental care for children with treatments like fluoride and sealants that help prevent cavities. If children develop cavities because of improper oral hygiene or tooth decay, they can provide restorative care to repair them. Pediatric dentists offer accurate advice on orthodontic issues like misaligned teeth or improper bites, ensuring the child gets the need orthodontic treatment at an early age. They diagnose problems related to oral health early before they aggravate into conditions like asthma, ADHD, heart disease, or diabetes. Managing gum disease effectively is also a job of pediatric dentists besides providing emergency treatments if needed by the child for dental injuries.
Children’s teeth are unlike adult teeth and are in the developmental stages until six or seven. Despite having the qualifications needed, family dentists cannot identify specific issues easily managed by pediatric dentists. If you want your child to have a lifetime of good oral and overall health, it would be beneficial if you prefer a pediatric dentist for them over your family dentist.
Pediatric dentists, when dealing exclusively with children, also invest in kid friendly practices to make children feel comfortable during dental visits. They have staff trained to manage children calmly and patiently. Children are allowed to have a good time at the dentist’s office tailored to the needs of children.
Whether you choose a pediatric dentist or continue visiting your family dentist with your child is entirely at your discretion. However, you must consider the differences between the two professionals and weigh the additional training received by the pediatric dentist to decide in favor of the latter rather than the former. Choosing a pediatric dentist ensures the child gets specialized care from a dental professional during their developmental years.