What is the Difference Between a Children’s Dentist and a Family Dentist?

Childrens Dentist Middletown, NY

Not every dentist is the same; a children's dentist is no exception. General and family dentists perform the same tasks in looking after the teeth. However, a children's dentist has additional training in kids' dental care. But you might not fully understand the differences between a family dentist and a children's dentist. Keep reading to find out more.

About the difference

A family dentist cares for both adult and baby teeth and will treat patients from childhood to old age. Think of a family dentist as the primary dental care doctor for the whole family. However, a children's dentist only focuses on kids' oral care. Children's dentists have more training as well. Both family and children's dentists might have done a Doctor of Dental Medicine or a Doctor of Dental Surgery. However, a children's dentist has also done two or three years more of training.

What a children's dentist does

Though the job of a children's dentist is similar to that of a family dentist, there are some key differences. A children's dentist must be familiar with growing children's needs. This dentist's patients may be as young as eight months old. The dentist also needs to know how to interact well with teens, tweens, and even toddlers. There are not only stark differences between interacting with adults and children, but also stark differences in how to relate to the different age groups kids and teens are divided into. For example, one would interact with a young child in a very different way than they would a young teen. Children's dentists must be skilled in communicating with a range of age groups so their patients can feel comfortable and understand them. 

Many parents choose a children's dentist because of their ability to make children feel more comfortable. A dental appointment can be a stressful situation for a kid. Therefore, a dentist must be skilled at making children feel relaxed so they can get the dental care they need. A children's dentist will find ways to make dental appointments fun. The dentist will find ways to make at-home dental care fun and spark a child's interest in dental hygiene. A children's dentist will often set their office up to make children feel comfortable. This starts in the waiting room, where they may even provide books, toys, puzzles, and other items that children can entertain themselves with while they wait. Even if the child has special needs, a children's dentist can help.

A children's dentist needs to offer a range of preventative services. Two of the most common preventative products for children are fluoride treatments and dental sealants. Flouride helps strengthen the enamel of teeth to protect against tooth decay. Dental sealants help fill deep groves and crevasses on teeth so plaque cannot collect in them and cause cavities. Other common dental services for children include:

  • Nutritional and diet advice
  • Care for orthodontic problems like misalignment
  • Counseling for negative habits such as thumb-sucking
  • Repairing cavities
  • Emergency dental care

Because children are active, especially in sports, a children's dentist may recommend a mouthguard to protect their teeth when engaging in high-contact activities. A mouthguard can also be helpful to children who have trouble with teeth grinding. Protecting primary teeth is crucial because they affect the health of the child's gums and adult teeth. Therefore, even though they fall out, they must receive thorough dental care. 

The first visit

Parents and children should arrive early to fill out any necessary paperwork. Parents may even request a tour of the dental office. Also, before the appointment, parents may want to play dentist with their kids to get them more comfortable with the idea. 

Children should have their first dental checkup when their first tooth comes in. At this age, the treatment will be mainly preventative. However, starting dentist appointments early will help the child get a jump start on good oral cleaning habits and get them used to seeing the dentist.

Many parents wonder how often they should take their children to the dentist. The right amount of time between visits is around six months. This allows the dentist to see how the teeth erupt and address potential oral health issues.

Choose a children's dentist today

If you are looking for the right dental care for your child, consider visiting a children's dentist. Children's dentists have important additional training in working with kids. Your first step is to make an appointment today.

Request an appointment here: https://www.hvkidsmiles.com or call Hudson Valley Pediatric Dentistry at (845) 363-4177 for an appointment in our Middletown office.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Kid Friendly Dentist in Middletown, NY.

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