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Pediatric Dentist Vs General Dentist

A Pediatric Dentist specializes in identifying and treating oral health concerns in children, specifically from infancy to teenage years. Our Burnaby dentists discuss specifically how they differ from general dentists.

Here at  Ocean Dental, parents often ask us what the difference between a pediatric dentist and a general dentist 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 Burnaby dentists discuss the key differences between general and pediatric dentists and explain when it might be beneficial to visit a pediatric specialist.

Pediatric Dentistry

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.

To become a pediatric dentist in Canada, dental school graduates must complete an accredited advanced education program in pediatric dentistry. Once they have completed this program, they will attain a specialty designation from the Provincial Dental Regulatory Authority in their province.

What does a pediatric dentist 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
  • Dental care for children with special needs
  • Infant oral health exams, including risk assessment for cavities
  • Early orthodontic assessment & treatment: straightening teeth and correcting misalignment and bite problems (malocclusion)
  • Fillings for tooth cavities or defects
  • Habit counseling: thumb sucking and pacifier habit-breaking
  • Preventive dental care for children: oral hygiene cleaning, fluoride treatments, nutrition and diet recommendations, etc.
  • Diagnosis of oral conditions associated with diseases, such as diabetes, asthma, congenital heart defect, hay fever, and ADD / ADHD

Could my child need a pediatric dentist?

General dentists have the skills and training necessary to care for children's teeth, so in most cases, sending children to a pediatric specialist is not entirely necessary.

That means that unless you have serious concerns, 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 would like to learn more about how pediatric dentistry might differ from general dentistry or to book an appointment with our dental team, contact Ocean Dental today. 

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