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.

To pursue a career as a dentist, one must undergo dental school education. After graduating from dental school, some individuals choose to enter the field of general dentistry and start practicing.

For those aspiring to become pediatric dentists in Canada, additional steps are required. Dental school graduates interested in pediatric dentistry must complete a specialized advanced education program in pediatric dentistry that is accredited.

Upon successful completion of this program, they will obtain a specialty designation from the Provincial Dental Regulatory Authority in their respective 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:

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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?

In most cases, general dentists possess the necessary skills and training to provide comprehensive dental care for children. Therefore, it is typically not necessary to seek out a pediatric specialist for your child's dental needs.

You can confidently bring your child to your own dentist, as they are well-equipped and qualified to provide dental care for children.

However, for children with unique or complex oral health conditions, as well as those with disabilities, the specialized training of a pediatric dentist can be highly beneficial and valuable.

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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