Should I take my child to a pediatric or regular dentist?

By Jupiter Kids Dentistry & Orthodontics - Pediatric Dentist Allen

The dental health of your child is extremely important. Dentists recommend having early dental checkups for your children so that they can evaluate the oral health of your child and prevent severe dental problems from occurring in the future. Thus parents can be assured that their kids have healthy teeth and gums. However, there is one question that is creating confusion among many parents. Should they take their child to a pediatric dentist or a general dentist? This blog will discuss how a kids dentist differs from a general dentist and the importance of pediatric dentistry.

Who is a pediatric dentist?

Pediatric dentists are dental professionals who offer dedicated treatment to maintain children’s oral health from infancy to adolescence. They have the right expertise and qualifications to provide the much-needed care to a child’s teeth, gums and mouth throughout the various stages of childhood. Without proper dental care, a child’s teeth are more at risk of developing cavities and other dental diseases. A pediatric dentist will have a four-year degree from dental school. In addition, they should have received an additional two years of residency training in dentistry for infants, children, teens and children with special needs.

What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a general dentist?

  • Pediatric dentists are specially trained to address a child’s oral care needs, whereas a general dentist is trained with much less emphasis on children.
  • Pediatric dentists use child-sized tools to give thorough checkups for children, whereas a general dentist may not carry pediatric-sized tools.
  • A pediatric dentist has received training in understanding child psychology, child development, special needs care and sedation dentistry. In contrast, a general dentist focuses more on oral care for adult teeth. A general dentist will have only less knowledge about child psychology.
  • Kids dentists emphasize early orthodontic intervention and may offer some orthodontic care. However, general dentists refer adults to an orthodontist, especially if they need orthodontic care.
  • When parents take their child to a pediatric dental office, they will more likely have kid-friendly decorations, activities and games to make them feel comfortable when they enter the dental office. The dental office of a general dentist may not necessarily have kids’ games and decorations. 

Should I take my kid to a pediatric dentist?

If your child has severe dental issues, it is always desirable to take your child to a dentist who has received specific training in treating children. Even though general dentists can easily manage most cases without any problems, the expertise of a pediatric dentist may be required in some advanced or complex issues that the child may be facing. A pediatric dentist may also be suitable for children with behavioral problems. Since pediatric dentists have received behavior modification training, they use those skills to improve oral health in children. 

Why should you choose a pediatric dentist?

  • Unlike general dentists, pediatric dentists are specialists who are better prepared to deal with issues specific to a child’s developing teeth. Pediatric dental professionals have the right expertise to understand the unique problems faced by the children, such as tooth decay and gum issues.
  • Pediatric dentists can detect developing dental issues in children better than general dentists. It is because they have experience understanding the growth patterns of a child’s primary teeth.
  • Pediatric dentists know how to manage frightened, crying and anxious children in a dentist’s chair. They know how to make the child feel comfortable and have ways to make the whole process enjoyable and fun-filled. Thus they make the next dental visit less stressful for the child. 
  • The office of the kids dentist is designed specifically for children. The dental equipment used is kid-friendly and smaller than general dentists’ standard ones. 


Even though a general dentist can meet most of the requirements of a kids dentist, it could be a suitable choice if you go for a regular dental checkup with your family and children. However, if your child has severe dental issues or is a child with special needs, then consulting a pediatric dentist would be the best decision. 

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