Should My Child See a Pediatric Dentist?

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, it’s recommended that a child sees a dentist either by age one, or within six months after their first tooth erupts. But, that first visit obviously isn’t about teaching your baby to take care of their teeth. It’s more of an educational tool for you, as a parent. You’ll learn how to properly care for your child’s teeth, take care of them, etc.

It’s usually around age 2-3 when standard dental visits kick in, and your child will learn about cleaning and caring for their teeth. Between ages 4-6, they may receive their first set of dental X-rays.

But, there are some things to take into consideration before you bring your child to a dentist. Should you take them to a “regular” dentist, or the one you may currently go to, or should you take them to a pediatric dentist?

What is a Pediatric Dentist?

As you might expect, a pediatric dentist is an oral health doctor that specializes in the treatment of children. Like traditional family dentists, pediatric dentists have to obtain a bachelor’s degree and attend dental school.

But, they also undergo additional training. Pediatric dentists attend school for an additional 2-3 years strictly to learn how to work with children. Children can have unique dental needs that require more education. It’s also important for a pediatric dentist to know how to handle behavioral issues in children, and how to make them comfortable during a visit.

Dental offices that specialize in pediatrics can also often be more comfortable for your children, because they tend to have a child-friendly feel. The office may have things to play with, children’s television shows playing, vibrant colors, etc. If your child is nervous about going to a dentist or they’ve had a bad experience with a family dentist, taking them to a pediatric dentist can calm those nerves.

Are Pediatric Dentists Better for Children?

There are pros and cons to consider when thinking about taking your child to a pediatric dentist over a family dentist. But, the biggest benefit is that your child is likely to be more comfortable. And, the pediatric dentist they see may be more equipped to handle any special issues your child might have.

Not only are pediatric dentists great at working with kids and explaining things to children in an easy-to-understand way, but they can teach children about preventative care effectively. It’s not always easy for a traditional family dentist to do that and to experience full engagement from a child.

If you want more information about pediatric dentistry or you would like to schedule an appointment, feel free to contact Hines Little Smiles today. Our team will be happy to schedule an initial visit so both you and your child can feel comfortable, before providing an initial consultation, so your child always knows exactly what to expect in an environment they’ll love. We’re also happy to answer any questions you might have along the way! Contact us today!

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A dentist demonstrates to a child patient a large dental model for educational purposes during a consultation.