When Should My Children Go to an Adult Dentist vs a Pediatric Dentist?

If you have an infant, toddler, child in elementary school, pre-teen, or teen, you may be wondering whether to take them to an adult dentist or pediatric dentist.  To answer this question, let’s dive deeper into what a pediatric dentist is.

What is a Pediatric Dentist?

All dentists are experts in oral health. However, pediatric dentists are specifically trained to provide dental care to children of all ages, including those with special needs. They have two or three years of specialty dental training on how to properly treat children. Here is a brief overview of what pediatric dentists learn during this special training period:

·         How to provide oral health to children with disabilities or special needs disorders like autism, ADHD, and Down’s syndrome

·         Ways to manage development and growth issues of the mouth, jaw, face, and head

·         How to use sedation dentistry to treat children

·         Strategies to educate children on how to prevent dental conditions and be proactive about their oral health

During the special training period, pediatric dentists perfect their skills and learn how to provide dental care in the most child-friendly and sensitive way possible. They learn about how children think, develop, and use this information to hone in how to interact with them while they are at the dentist office.

Pediatric dentists also have an extensive knowledge on how children’s teeth and jaws should develop. They can recognize orthodontic concerns and are well-versed in the fast growth and development changes that come with adolescent oral care.

Benefits of Pediatric Dentists

Regardless of your child’s age, a pediatric dentist can provide them a variety of benefits. Most importantly, they can guide your child on how properly care for their mouth, teeth, and gums when they are at home away from the dental office. They can also treat oral health issues and detect problems early on.

Unlike regular dentists, pediatric dentists have access to special tools that are specifically engineered for growing mouths and can make the dental experience far more comfortable for your child. Additionally, a pediatric dentist can make a visit to the dentist enjoyable rather than scary and nerve-racking.

Most Common Services Offered by Pediatric Dentists

Here are some of the most common services pediatric dentists provide:

·         Diagnosing developmental issues with teeth

·         Evaluating orthodontic concerns such as improper bite

·         Fixing cavities

·         Providing sports mouth guards for dental injury prevention

·         Diagnosing and treating pediatric gum disease

·         Offering advice for thumb sucking, pacifier use, and other habits that may affect teeth

·         Caring for broken or knocked out teeth or other dental trauma

Although a general dentist may offer similar services, they are not specifically trained to provide these services to children. Pediatric dentistry is recommended for children of all ages, including teens and college students. However, once your child turns 18, they can decide whether they feel comfortable at a general dentist.

If you’re on the lookout for a quality pediatric dentist for your child, schedule an appointment at River Run Dental Spa in Richmond, VA. We offer a spa-like environment that is bound to relax your child and make trips to the dentist a pleasant experience.