Here at Carbonear Dental, parents often ask us what the difference between pediatric dentistry and general dentistry 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 Carbonear dentists outline the key differences between general and pediatric dentistry and explain when it might be beneficial to visit a pediatric specialist.
What is a pediatric dentist?
Qualifications & Training
Pediatric Dentistry is one of nine dental specialties recognized by the Canadian Dental Association.
To become a dentist, individuals are required to attend dental school. After graduating from dental school, some individuals choose to immediately practice as general dentists.
For those interested in becoming pediatric dentists in Canada, dental school graduates need to complete a specialized advanced education program in pediatric dentistry. Upon successful completion of this program, they will receive a specialty designation from the Provincial Dental Regulatory Authority in their respective province.
What do pediatric dentists do?
Pediatric dentists have specialized training in the specific oral health care needs of children, ranging from infants to teenagers.
Pediatric dentists address the following dental care needs specific to children:
- Dental care for children with special needs
- Habit counselling: thumb sucking and pacifier habit-breaking
- Fillings for tooth cavities or defects
- 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)
- Diagnosis of oral conditions associated with diseases, such as diabetes, asthma, congenital heart defect, hay fever, and ADD / ADHD
Does my child need to go to a special dentist for children?
In many cases, general dentists possess the necessary skills and training to provide dental care for children. Therefore, it is often unnecessary to specifically seek out a pediatric specialist.
This means that you can bring your child to your regular dentist, who is qualified to provide appropriate dental care for your child.
However, children with unique or more complex dental issues, as well as those with disabilities, may benefit from the specialized training of a pediatric dentist.