Here at Dr. Kerby Bruce and Associates, parents often ask us what the difference between a pediatric dentist and a general dentist is. In particular, they wonder if there is any benefit to bringing their children to a pediatric dentist instead of a general dentist.
Below, our Charlottetown dentists outline the key differences between general and pediatric dentists and explain when it might be beneficial to visit a pediatric specialist.
What is a pediatric dentist?
What are the qualifications of a pediatric dentist?
The Canadian Dental Association recognizes nine dental specialties, one of which is pediatric dentistry.
In order to become a dentist, it is required that you complete dental school. Some dental school graduates move on immediately to practice as dentists, and these are general dentists.
In order to specialize in pediatric dentistry 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 do pediatric dentists do?
Pediatric dentists are dentists that have received specialized training in order to treat the oral health care needs of children, ranging from infants to teenagers.
Some of the dental care concerns that a pediatric dentist will focus on are:
- Baby teeth care
- Preventive dental care for children: oral hygiene cleaning, fluoride treatments, nutrition and diet recommendations, etc.
- Infant oral health exams, including risk assessment for cavities
- Early orthodontic assessment & treatment: straightening teeth and correcting misalignment and bite problems (malocclusion)
- Dental care for children with special needs
- Habit counseling: thumb sucking and pacifier habit-breaking
- Fillings for tooth cavities or defects
- Diagnosis of oral conditions associated with diseases, such as diabetes, asthma, congenital heart defect, hay fever, and ADD / ADHD
When might my child need to see a pediatric dentist?
Typically, you will be able to bring your children to visit a general dentist. General dentists are trained in the care of all teeth, so in most cases, sending children to a pediatric specialist is not necessary.
That means that you can bring your child to your own dentist, and he or she will be well qualified to care for your child's teeth.
There will be some children however that are experiencing unusual or more serious dental problems, or for those with disabilities, the specialized training of a pediatric dentist may be required.