The Difference Between a Pediatric and Family Dentist

Once you are a parent, you need to start looking into care for your children. One area that confuses a lot of parents is the dentistry field. You probably know that it is important to take your children to the dentist, but what exactly is the difference with a pediatric dentist? How does it differ from a family dentist?

As a Cary dentist from a practice like Alliance Dentistry can explain, these are important questions that you should know the answers to before you make any decision. This guide will help you understand these concepts.

General Differences

On the surface, the differences between a pediatric dentist, family dentist, and traditional dentist are quite simple. A pediatric dentist is a dentist who has studied for a few extra years to enter into a specialization of the dental field. Specifically, a pediatric dentist has studied children’s dental needs in order to provide specialized treatment, care, and procedures.

If a dentist markets himself or herself as a family dentist, then chances are good that this dentist has not received any special training to become a pediatric dentist. Instead, a family dentist likely strives to create an environment that is friendly to kids. Special care might be taken to make small children feel more comfortable in the unpleasant environment that is any dentist office. However, family dentists sometimes have completely different technical and specialized skillset compared to a pediatric dentist.

In-Depth Differences

So what does this difference mean for you? A family dentist is no less capable than a pediatric dentist. Rather, a pediatric dentist just offers a different, more specialized service. For general dentistry needs, a family dentist will be just fine.

However, there are some things you may need a pediatric dentist for specifically. Just like how you may go to a periodontist to receive dental care specialized to the support of teeth, you should go to a pediatric dentist for care specialized for tooth development. The things a pediatric dentist handles that a traditional dentist may not be able to include:

  • Tooth development in very young children
  • Tooth care at all different ages
  • Infant oral exams
  • Dental health habit counseling
  • Tooth repair in very young children
  • Slow tooth straightening alongside aging
  • Gum diseases in very young children

The most important thing for you to remember is that a pediatric dentist is a specialist while a family dentist is a general dentist with a target audience. You do not need a pediatric dentist unless your regular dentist recommends you visit for your child’s special needs.