Determining when to bring your child to the dentist for the first time is fairly simple. A child should be brought to the dentist within six months of their first tooth or before their first birthday. Chances are you will bring them to a pediatric dentist for the first time and onwards. What isn’t as clear is when to stop bringing them to a pediatric dentist and switch to a regular dentist. Is there a right answer? And what about family dentists?

What Is A Pediatric Dentist?

A pediatric dentist is a dentist who specializes in the care and development of children’s teeth throughout different developmental times in their lives. Pediatric dentists can start to see children before any of their teeth emerge all the way up until their jaw and teeth stop developing. A pediatric dentist will keep a thorough record of your child’s dental development, perform regular dental assessments and cleanings, diagnose disease, fill cavities, and so much more. In the event of a dental emergency, your pediatric dentist will also be able to assist quickly and make educated and expert recommendations for treatment.

Early childhood dental care is essential. It sets up your child’s dental health for the rest of their life. Visiting a dentist from a young age will set your child the best and most effective dental health path throughout their adult years. Without proper childhood dental care, you are risking serious tooth decay, infection, and long term health complications.

Pediatric dentists have the necessary four years of dental school along with two additional years of special pediatric dentistry. During these two years, they master infant, toddler, child, and teenage dental health. General dentists do not typically have the two additional years of mastery, although they could specialize in a different type of dentistry.

What Is The Difference Between A General Dentist And A Pediatric Dentist?

General dentistry is not necessarily child focused. A general dentist may have specializations, but their practice is not solely focused on child dental health or development. Seeing a general dentist is not necessarily a bad idea for your child if you do not have access to a pediatric dentist.

With that being said, pediatric dentists are the best option for your child to see if they are medically compromised or require a specific dental procedure. Pediatric dentists only work with children and are experts when it comes to successfully treating those who are still developing. Pediatric dentists are the best option for child dental procedures because they have child sized tools and extensive understanding of child and adolescent anesthesia.

Pediatric dentists have the experience and knowledge when it comes to discussing dental matters with children. Not to say general dentists can’t be warm and offer child friendly care, only that they may not have the most experience doing so. For example, children may be more afraid of the dentist than older adolescents or adults. Pediatric dentists are experts at effectively managing children’s fears as opposed to general dentists who are more adept to adult fears.

When Can My Child See A Regular Dentist?

Understandably you may want to eventually send your child to a regular dentist at some point. They may grow out of the child optimized dental office or require less specialized treatment. Generally, you can switch your child’s primary dental care from pediatric to a general practice at around age 16. At this point most of their teeth will have fully developed and they no longer need the specialized service.

What Is A Family Dentist?

While you can bring your child to a pediatric dentist then a general dentist, why not look for a family dentist? A family dentist is the happy middle between pediatric dentistry and general dentistry. A family dentist has the ability to treat patients of any age and does so quite effectively. At a family dentist, your dental professional will likely focus on more general prevention rather than a specific specialization. If your child does not have any specific medical conditions, or dental health concerns, they may benefit from a family dentist just as well as a specifically pediatric dentist.

Benefits Of A Family Dentist

The whole family can go to one dental office

Rather than booking dental appointments at several different dental offices, you can book appointments for the entire family on the same day at the same location. This reduces complications and can simplify your service.

You don’t have to switch your child’s files from one dentist to another

When you switch dentists, you also need to be sure all specific files have been transferred properly. Understanding specific dental history is key to future treatment. When you work with a family dentist from the get go, you don’t have to worry about transferring files because you don’t have to switch dentists!

Your child is working with one dentist throughout childhood and adolescence

One advantage of seeing a family dentist is that your dentist will easily be able to monitor dental progression throughout the years. There won’t be any gaps in treatments and finding acceptable services will be easy once you find a trusted dentist.

Build a strong relationship

If your child is already slightly apprehensive about visiting a dentist it may be useful to build a strong relationship over a long period of time. With a family dentist, building a stable relationship is easy.

Thinking about seeing a family dentist? See how you can benefit when you call and make your next dental appointment today! Effectively maintain your child’s dental health for the present and the future!

Author’s Bio

Nicole Howe is a content writer at BreezeMaxWeb. When she isn’t writing, you can find her walking half marathons, biking, or watching Raptors basketball!


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