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

Pediatric dentists specialize in the oral healthcare of children, all the way from infancy to their teenage years. Here, our Clarenville dentists explain how pediatric dentists differ in practice from general dentists. 

At Elliott Dental Studio, parents will often ask us about the difference between a general dentist and a pediatric dentist. They may wonder if there is any benefit to bringing their children in to see a pediatric dentist instead of a general one. 

Below, our Clarenville team outlines the key differences between general and pediatric dentists and explain when it might be beneficial to visit a pediatric specialist.

What is a pediatric dentist?

Qualifications & Training

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

In order to become a dentist, you must attend dental school. Some graduates of dental school will then immediately move to practice dentistry. 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 do pediatric dentists do?

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

Does my child need to go to a special dentist for children?

General dentists have all of the skills and training necessary to provide care for a child's teeth. Because of this, sending your children to a pediatric specialist isn't necessary in most cases.

That means that you can bring your child to your own dentist, and they will be well qualified to care for your child's teeth.

For children with unusual or serious oral health issues or those with disabilities, the specialized training of a pediatric dentist may be very helpful.

If you have more questions about pediatric dentistry or would like to book an appointment for your children at Elliott Dental Studio, contact our dental team today!

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Looking for a dentist in Clarenville? We're happily accepting new patients at our dental clinic! Contact us to get started today. 

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