When it comes to the well-being of your children, we as parents, always want the best for our kids. But, with busy schedules, you might be tempted to take your child to your regular dentist rather than a pediatric one. Is that an issue?
Here's why it would be best to opt for a pediatric dentist over a general dentist.
General dentist: treatment of all ages
The majority of dentists are part of the general dentist category. General dentists are also sometimes called "family" dentists, particularly when they see patients of all ages. However, it is important to understand what qualifications general dentists actually have.
A general dentist is any dentist who has earned either a DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) or DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery). Either of these degrees mean that the dentist has completed four years of undergraduate education as well as four years of dental school, which includes both academic training and hands-on-learning. You can think of a general dentist as the dental equivalent of a Primary Care Physician (PCP). They are qualified to do most dental procedures like fillings, crowns, implants, and other such dental services, but do not have a specialization in any field.
Being a general dentist excludes the need of having additional training and certifications. This also means that general dentists do not have any specialization in pediatric dentistry. They are able to provide services and care to patients of all ages, but they do not have the same depth of knowledge and specialized training in children's dentistry compared to that of a pediatric dentist.
Pediatric Dentist: specialized, child-focused dental care
A pediatric dentist, also known as a pedodontist, is specialized in diagnosing and treating dental problems in infants, children, and teenagers in order to make sure they have optimal oral health as they grow into adulthood. If a general dentist is the dental equivalent of a Primary Care Physician, then think of a pediatric dentist as the dental equivalent of a pediatrician. Unlike general dentists, pediatric dentists are specialists in treating children's dental issues and they only provide care to kids ranging from newborns to young adults.
In order to become a pediatric dentist, additional training and certification is required. A pediatric dentist must earn their undergraduate degree, then earn their DMD or DDS degree, and then go through a rigorous post-graduate pediatric residency program. This pediatric dental specialty training takes an extra 2-3 years after dental school. The extra time spent in training allows pediatric dentists to learn everything about pediatric dentistry in-depth, with a focus on subjects such as child sedation, orthodontics, psychology, and growth and development. Their specific training allows them to treat cases related to children, including knowing how to engage with kids and help them feel safe.
Additionally, after earning their pediatric dentistry degree, Dr. Elias and Dr. Christina spent an additional two years to become board-certified pediatric dentists and diplomates of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. Written and oral examinations are required to achieve this, and not all pediatric dentists have this pediatric dental board certification. It demonstrates specialized knowledge and proficiency to provide exceptional patient care while staying up-to-date with the latest knowledge in pediatric dentistry.
Pediatric Dentist advantages
The specialized approach to kids of all ages is what makes pediatric dentists a superior choice for children's dental needs, including preventive and restorative measures. Below are just a few reasons to having your child join a pediatric dental home:
- Pediatric dentists have extensive knowledge and training of child-specific dental issues. As board certified pediatric dentists, Dr. Elias and Dr. Christina are specially trained to make your child feel safe and comfortable during treatments.
- Pediatric dentists have specialized training that allows them to explain oral care and procedures in a fun and friendly manner that is understandable by kids.
- Having a highly trained pediatric dental staff that understand how to approach children in a delicate manner and know how to make children's visits exciting and fun
- Having a pediatric office that is designed to have children's comfort in mind. At Saginaw Kids Dentistry, we have TV screens on the ceiling as well as bubble walls and prize walls to help your child stay comfortable and cooperative during cleanings and treatments. Also, our reception area has child-friendly activities to keep your little ones entertained.
- Pediatric dentists use equipment that is specifically designed for children. Parents can expect the latest technology in ensuring gentle and effective procedures for their kids.