Pediatric Dentistry Isn’t Child’s Play

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In today's age, we're fortunate to have medical professionals who specialize in various aspects of our healthcare. This means when you have a heart condition, you can see a cardiologist - an expert in conditions that affect the human heart.

With this high level of specialization comes the feeling that those practitioners who aren’t specialists are less qualified than those who are. When it comes to caring for your child’s teeth, is it necessary to see a pediatric dentist? The answer depends on your child’s needs and, to some extent, the limits of your health and dental insurance policy.

How Do Pediatric dentists differ?

Pediatric dentists undergo an additional two to three years of training to specialize in the care and treatment of dental problems that are specific to children. It’s similar to a seeing a pediatrician versus a family doctor. While a pediatric dentist has special training in dealing with children’s dental issues, a general dentist who sees the whole family has special insight into your dental history, as well as that of your partner and any older children in the family. Your specific dental history has as much to do with your decision as your child’s dental health needs.

Does Your Child Need a Pediatric Dentist?

As is with any dentist, the best choice for your child is the one you’re able to see regularly, who your child likes, and who you trust. You should choose the right dentist based on your family’s very specific needs. The most highly recommended pediatric dentist in the world won’t be very helpful to your child if you can never make it to an appointment. In this case, a general dentist who is friendly, welcoming, accommodating and local might be the best choice for you and your child.

Additional Considerations

Both general and pediatric dentists are capable of caring for your child’s oral health. However, there are some cases that warrant checking with your dentist or your child’s doctor about who they recommend for your child. For example, if you child has special needs or a high likelihood of needing special dental care based on family history, you may need to consult with a pediatric dentist.

Because of the additional training they undergo and the special office arrangements that are often found in a pediatric dentist’s office, there is sometimes a higher fee to see these dental specialists. Of course, if your child has a special medical or dental consideration and your doctor or dentist recommends that they see a pediatric dentist, it’s important to heed that recommendation. Just be sure to check with your health and dental insurance provider to see how this affects you, as these fees may be above the “Usual and Customary” charges that are covered in your policy.

Above all else, please keep in mind that general dentists have the training and equipment to do an excellent job of caring for your child’s oral health. In fact, your child may already be perfectly comfortable with your dentist because of the example you have set by keeping up with your own appointments.


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