Your family is growing, and you have the job of selecting the best service providers to protect the health of your children. It may seem easier just to take every member of the family to one general dentist, but the easiest approach is not always best. There are some clear advantages to selecting a pediatric dentist, and we’re going to fill you in on the details right now.
Pediatric Dentist vs General Dentist – What’s the Difference?
There are a few primary differences between pediatric and general dentists:
- Pediatric dentists receive a few years of specialized training that general dentists don’t complete.
- Pediatric dentists choose to work with children while general dentists may see patients of all ages.
- A dental office designed for children is more comforting and approachable for young children. Parents often have an easier time getting their children to cooperate in these child-friendly offices.
- The overall atmosphere in a pediatric dental practice is typically more lighthearted and cheerful than a general dental practice.
Keeping those differences in mind, let’s discuss some of the benefits that come with seeing a pediatric dentist.
Benefits of Choosing a Pediatric Dentist for Your Children
It may seem like a dentist’s office is just a dentist’s office, but that’s far from reality. Let’s discuss some of the biggest benefits to working with a pediatric dentist for your children.
Pediatric dentists go through the same basic dental training as general dentists. Then they continue their education for up to three additional years to secure their specialization in pediatric dentistry. That added training comes in the form of a residency program that introduces dentists to in-depth topics that relate specifically to children.
A general dentist can accept patients under 18, and many are highly qualified to do so. Their lack of specialized training may mean that they’re less prepared to handle more complex dental problems that occur for some children. The specialized training a pediatric dentist receives should give you added confidence that your child’s dentist has the expertise needed to provide exceptional care into young adulthood.
This is one of the biggest differences between general and pediatric dentists. From the waiting room to the exam rooms, everything is setup for patients under 18. Here are some points that explain why this is a big advantage for children and parents:
- A practitioner offering pediatric dentistry will have smaller sized equipment to ensure a more comfortable experience for smaller mouths. Some may even have ways of approaching children in a lighthearted manner so that the equipment and tools are less scary.
- The floors, walls, and even sometimes the ceilings are typically decorated with colorful designs. Your children may encounter friendly characters that make the dentist’s office feel more lighthearted and less intimidating.
- Many pediatric offices have entertainment options like headphones, books, or toys to keep the attention of young children. They may even have treasure chests and other rewards that make many children want to cooperate and come back for future visits.
- Parents can relax, knowing that all patients are under age 18. Office staff and dentists expect the occasional temper tantrum, diaper change break, or other unexpected slowdowns. Parents aren’t pressured to keep their children moving so that adult patients aren’t inconvenienced or bothered.
It’s also worth mentioning that children see a lot of their peers when they visit a pediatric dentist. Rather than sitting in a waiting room with adults and trying to stay quiet or not fidget, they can play with new friends. When they look around, they see other children and are comforted rather than intimidated.
Child-Friendly Rules & Accommodations
A pediatric dentist should have bathrooms set up to accommodate families plus rules and operations that consider the needs of young patients. For instance, some general dental offices require parents to wait in the waiting room while children are visiting the dentist. A pediatric dentist may have a different approach, especially for young children and those with dental anxiety.
Relevant Dental Services
The dental services offered by a pediatric practice are typically different from those of a general practice. When serving patients, there’s no need for dentures, periodontal disease treatments, or teeth whitening. Those are all services targeted more towards mature patients.
What you will find at a pediatric dental office are services that cater to the needs of your children at all ages. That may include orthodontic services, since many children do need braces or other corrective services before reaching adulthood.