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

Pediatric dentists specialize in children's oral healthcare (from infants to teenagers), and they are different in some other aspects from general dentists. Our Chilliwack dentists explain how. 

At Young Street Dental, parents often ask us about the difference between a pediatric dentist and a general dentist. Specifically, they wonder if there's any benefit to bringing their children to a pediatric dentist instead of a general dentist. 

In this post, our dentists in Chilliwack explain the basic differences between general and pediatric dentists, and describe when it might be a good idea to visit a pediatric specialist.

What is a pediatric dentist?

Qualifications & Training

The Canadian Dental Association has 9 specialties, one of which is pediatric dentistry.

You must graduate from dental school to become a dentist. Some dental school graduates immediately start to practice as dentists, and these are general dentists. 

Dental school graduates must complete and accredited advanced education program in pediatric dentistry to become a pediatric dentist in Canada. Once they've completed this program, they obtain a specialty designation from the Provincial Dental Regulatory Authority in their province. 

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

Does my child need to go to a special dentist for children?

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 necessary.

That means that 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 have more questions about pediatric dentistry or would like to schedule an appointment for your child at Young Street Dental, please get in touch today!


Tips From Our Team
  • Just like you, we recommend your child visit the dentist at least twice a year. This routine should start after their first tooth appears.
    - The Young Street Dental Team

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