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

Posted Feb 23rd, 2022

Pediatric dentists specialize in caring for the oral health of infants, children, and teenagers. Today, our Lethbridge dentists share the differences between pediatric dentists and general dentists.

We are often asked by parents about the differences between general dentists and pediatric dentists. To be more specific, they want to know if there are any benefits to taking their children to a pediatric dentist rather than a general dentist.

Here, our Lethbridge dentists explain the main differences between general and pediatric dentists and discuss the situations where it may be beneficial to see 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 have to graduate from dental school. Some people who graduate dental school immediately go on to practice as dentists, they are known as general dentists.

In Canada, if a dental school graduate wants to be a pediatric dentist, they need to complete an accredited advanced education program in pediatric dentistry. After they have finished this program, they will attain a specialty designation from the Provincial Dental Regulatory Authority in their province.

What is the job of a pediatric dentist?

Pediatric dentists have specialized training in the specific oral health care needs of children, ranging from infants to teenagers.

Pediatric dentists are able to help meet the following dental care needs unique to children:

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

Does my kid have to go to a special dentist for children?

General dentists have the training and skills that are required to care for children's teeth, therefore, it isn't usually necessary to take children to a pediatric specialist.

This means that you are able to take bring your child to your own dentist, and they should be able to help take of your child's oral health needs.

For children with unusual or more serious dental problems, or for those with disabilities, the specialized training of a pediatric dentist may be required.

Contact our Lethbridge dental office today with any questions you have about dentistry or to schedule an appointment.

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