Specialized or General Dentist: Which Is Best for Your Kid?

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Children need to see a dentist to ensure good oral health. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) suggests that you take your child to a dentist for a checkup when the first tooth appears.

A lot of different things need to be considered when selecting a dentist for your child. You have to make sure your child receives the best dental care. You must ensure that the dentist is fully qualified to provide expert oral health care.

One of the questions that stump many parents is whether they should take their child to a specialized or general dentist.

So, which one will provide the best oral health care for your kid?

In this post, we will explain the differences between pediatric and general dentists so that you can have an easy time selecting the best one for your little one.

Who Is a Specialized Dentist for Kids?

Dentists who specialize in dental problems of kids are known as pediatric dentists. Pediatric dentists specialize in the oral health of children from birth through adolescence. They have advanced training and experience in dealing with all types of teeth and gum problems in children.

To become a pediatric dentist, the following requirements must be fulfilled.

  • Complete a four years graduate dental program
  • Pass state dentistry licensing program
  • Attend two years of residency training in dentistry for children with special oral health needs

Pediatric dentists provide specialized dental services for children. Some of the oral health services offered by the dental experts include the following

  • Carry out infant dental health checkup that includes risk assessment for dental cavities
  • Counsel about good dental habit such as thumb sucking and using a pacifier
  • Offer preventive dental health and diet suggestions
  • Early evaluation and orthodontic treatment to correct mispositioned teeth and jaws
  • Treat dental cavities or carriers in children
  • Corrective procedures for dental injuries such as fractured or knocked-out teeth

Who Is a General Dentist?

 General dentists focus on treating basic dental problems such as cavities and tooth decay. The dentists offer treatment to both children and adults. The dental expert address overall dental health concerns

All general dentists complete four years at a dental school. They also fulfill the requirements of state licensing authority that include ongoing education and testing.

Differences between Pediatric and General Dentists


General dentists receive basic dental care training. They are trained to offer general oral health care services faced by both children and adults.

In contrast, pediatric dentists receive specialized training to deal with oral health issues faced by children. After completing the dental degree, they have to attend two years of specialized residency training.  They receive pediatric general dentistry training to deal with oral health care issues of children aged six months old to 17 years old.

Unlike general dentists, pediatric dentists receive special training on how to deal with children who refuse to receive dental treatment. They know how to appease the children and keep them relaxed during a dental appointment.

During the training session, pediatric dentists are taught about children’s psychology and behavior. They receive training on how to make kids feel comfortable at the clinic. They also get specialized training in treating dental issues that are specific to children.

Understanding of Oral Health Needs

General dentists don’t have a complete understanding of the oral health needs of children. They can diagnose and treat basic dental health problems. You can think of them as a jack of all trades and master of one.

Pediatric dentists, on the other hand, have thorough knowledge about special dental health problems of children. They also know that most kids are afraid of dental procedures. With their specialized knowledge, pediatric dentists offer dental services that are tailored to the needs of children.

Specialized Equipment

General dentists have some basic equipment for testing and diagnosing simple dental problems. They don’t have specialized equipment possessed by pediatric dentists.

All pediatric dentists have special equipment that can fit the mouths of the toddlers. The equipment can fit perfectly inside the mouth of infants. This makes dental tasks such as x-rays and routine teeth cleaning comfortable for the kids.

Pediatric Dental Fluoroscopy

Dental fluoroscopy is a special technique that is used for more accurate diagnosis and treatment of oral health diseases. The technique involves using a special imaging technique to generate a dynamic image in dentistry.

Dentists who specialized in oral health problem of kids are trained to offer pediatric dental fluoroscopy treatment. They know about the correct procedure when using fluoroscopy CME to minimize the risk of radiation. This special treatment results in more accurate diagnosis and treatment such as pediatric dental implant and root canal treatment.


General dentists have experience in dealing with dental issues faced by both children and adults. They don’t have experience in dealing with special oral health care requirements of children.

Pediatric dentists deal exclusively with children’s dental health care needs. Over the course of a decade, they will have treated over 10,000 children. This makes them adept in dealing with the unique needs of children. They are aware that children’s teeth are more prone to cavities. They have experience in providing expert dental health services that are suited to the requirements of children.

Specialize in Preventive Treatment

Pediatric dentists specialize in preventive treatment for kids. They can counsel parents on how to help their kids develop good dental care habits. Their specialized advice helps parents to help their kids avoid dental health diseases.

General dentists don’t have experience in offering preventive dental healthcare for kids. They generally offer basic oral health care advice such as daily brushing, flossing, and using mouth wash.

Fun Environment for Kids

Most kids love to go to a pediatrician’s office. Pediatrician dentists know that most kids are scared of dental checkups. That’s why they build their offices in a way that makes them appealing to the kids.

Children can find fun and games in a dental office. This is something that they are not normally found in general dentists’ offices. Everything from the entrance and waiting area to the dentist’s office are designed to delight the kids.

Final Words

Children have unique dental health care needs. Pediatric dentists specialize in meeting unique oral health needs of kids. On the other hand, general dentists are not qualified to offer comprehensive dental care needs for children.

You need to get your kids to see a pediatric dentist for special oral health care. Pediatric dentists design the office to make them appealing to children. By contacting a pediatric dentist, you can rest assured that your child receives the very best dental health care services.

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