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

Pediatric dentists specialize in children's oral health care, from infants to teenagers. In this blog, our Revelstoke dentists discuss how general dentists and pediatric dentists are different.

Parents often ask us what the difference between a pediatric dentist and a general dentist is. Specifically, they want to know if there is any benefit to taking their children to a pediatric dentist rather than a general dentist.

Here, our dentists discuss the key differences between general and pediatric dentists and talk about when 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.

To become a dentist, you must go to dental school. Some dental school graduates move on immediately to practice as dentists, and 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 Pediatric Dentists Do

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

Pediatric dentists attend to the following dental care requirements unique to children:

  • Preventive dental care for children: oral hygiene cleaning, fluoride treatments, nutrition/diet recommendations, etc.
  • Baby teeth care
  • Fillings for tooth cavities or defects
  • Infant oral health exams, including risk assessment for cavities
  • 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
  • Early orthodontic assessment & treatment: straightening teeth and correcting misalignment and bite problems (malocclusion)

Does My Child Have to Go to a Special Dentist for Children?

General dentists are equipped with the skills and training they need to care for children's teeth, so most of the time, it's not necessary for children to see a pediatric specialist.

This means that you can take your child to your own dentist, and they should be able 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 might be needed.

Contact our Revelstoke dentists today to ask any questions you have or to schedule an appointment.

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