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What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a general dentist?

Pediatric dentists focus on providing specialized oral healthcare for children, spanning from infancy to adolescence. In this post, our Sault Ste. Marie dentists elaborate on the distinctions between pediatric dentists and general dentists.

At Bay Dental Group, we frequently receive inquiries from parents regarding the distinctions between pediatric dentists and general dentists. They often ask about the advantages of taking their children to a pediatric dentist over a general dentist.

Here, our dentists outline the primary contrasts between general and pediatric dentists, and provide insights on when it could be advantageous to seek care from a pediatric specialist for your child's dental care.

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, you must go to dental school. Some dental school graduates move on immediately to practice as dentists, and these are general dentists.

In Canada, pediatric dentists must fulfill specific requirements to attain their specialization. Dental school graduates are required to successfully complete an accredited advanced education program in pediatric dentistry. Upon 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:

  • 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
  • Assessment and treatment for orthodontic issues at an early stage: Aligning teeth and rectifying problems related to misalignment and improper bites, known as malocclusion.
  • Dental care for children with special needs
  • Habit counseling: thumb sucking and pacifier habit-breaking
  • Fillings for tooth cavities or defects
  • Identification of oral conditions linked to various diseases, including diabetes, asthma, congenital heart defects, hay fever, and ADD/ADHD.

Does my child need to go to a special dentist for children?

With their comprehensive skills and training, general dentists are typically capable of providing adequate dental care for children. Therefore, in the majority of cases, there is usually no need to specifically seek out a pediatric specialist for children's dental treatment.

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.

For children with unusual or more serious dental problems, or for those with disabilities, the specialized training of a pediatric dentist may be required.

If you have any further questions about pediatric dentistry or wish to schedule an appointment for your child at Bay Dental Group, don't hesitate to contact us today. We are here to assist you!

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Looking for a dentist in Sault Ste. Marie? We're happily welcoming new patients at our dental clinic! Contact us to get started today. 

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