When it comes to dental needs, each patient requires customized care for the best treatment results. Some families with small children need extra or specialized care. Pediatric dentists have unique qualifications; they can provide gentler care and education for young children and treat young patients with special needs or disabilities. At the Children’s Dental Center, we understand the importance of specialized child care. In this post, we’ll help you learn more about the difference between pediatric dentists and general dentists and the benefits pediatric dentists provide.

Getting To Know Pediatric Dentistry

The first step in any orthodontic process is getting information. Each patient requires unique needs, and attention, pediatric dentistry is no different. Pediatric dentists have specialized credentials in pediatric care. This means they are specifically trained to handle younger patients and those that require extra care. 

Pediatric dentists complete a program that emphasizes treating children who simply need gentler care and treating children and adolescents with special needs and disabilities. The program involves two to three years of further training after dental school. The program includes working in hospitals and working with children who need more severe dental treatment and emergencies. Pediatric dentists also learn orthodontic teeth-straightening methods. 

Should I Use A Pediatric Dentist Instead of a General Dentist?

All general dentists receive training from pediatric specialists in dental school. Some general dentists are more comfortable than others in treating small children and common childhood dental needs. But, if a general dentist is not comfortable treating a young child or special needs child, they can refer them to a Pediatric dentist.

Children respond to dental visits differently than adults. A child may be anxious or fearful in unfamiliar surroundings. This anxiety can be severe when the patient requires extensive treatment. When a child or a patient with disabilities requires extensive dental treatment, the Pediatric dentist can often provide sedation or general anesthesia. Pediatric dentists perform dental procedures like general dentists. Yet, because of their specialized training, they can handle many difficult behavioral situations.

6 Tips For Choosing A Pediatric Dentist

What is the Age Range Pediatric Dentists Care For?

Pediatric dentists, like pediatricians, can treat children from birth to college. Suppose a young patient needs dental treatment in a hospital due to a medical condition. In that case, a pediatric dentist is uniquely qualified. Often, Pediatric dentists will still see patients with special needs past 18 because the dentist knows the patient’s dental history, special treatments, and procedure needs.

Benefits of Pediatric Dentists For Children

Like all dentists, Pediatric dentists focus on oral health and the prevention and treatment of diseases and tooth decay. They also educate parents and other dental professionals on how best to treat children. Also, Pediatric dentists are experts at explaining procedures to children and building trust with their young patients. There are many methods that Pediatric dentists use to communicate with young patients, including:

Positive reinforcement – Praise patients for good behavior, including sitting still and following directions.

Tell-show-do – A method in which the dentist explains the treatment in words the child will understand, showing them the treatment in a simplified manner and then starting the procedure.

Tone – Pediatric dentists may use a friendlier or soothing tone for the patients to build trust and demystify an appointment.

Nutrition and Diet Guidance

Kids can only develop strong and healthy teeth if they’re getting the right nutrition. Sugar is a notorious culprit in tooth decay, yet it’s often the thing kids crave most. Even otherwise-healthy foods like milk and fruit contain a considerable amount of sugar, so learning to balance your child’s diet is essential. Your pediatric dentist can get you started by telling you which foods to avoid and which to incorporate more.

Getting Advice and Tips for Parents

You likely have a lot of questions about your child’s dental health, and a regular or family dentist may not be able to answer them thoroughly. For example, one common concern parents have is thumb-sucking. It’s perfectly normal in infants but can cause problems if it persists in older children. A pediatric dentist is extensively familiar with this type of concern and can offer detailed suggestions if it becomes a problem.

6 Tips For Choosing A Pediatric Dentist

Find the Right Pediatric Dentist For You 

Choosing a dentist for your family isn’t a light decision, and you have more options than you might realize. Some parents opt for a “family dentist,” who can see all the members of your family at once. A family dentist makes sense for some families, but there are several situations where a pediatric dentist would be a much better choice. If you live in the greater Memphis Area and might be interested in finding a pediatric dentist, please give us a call. Our team of experts at the Children’s Dental Center understands that exploring your options and learning the difference will help you make the best decision for your family.