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Pediatric Dentist vs. General Dentist: The Right Choice(s) for Your Family

By Wyatt Dilling on August 1, 2017 in Dental Health


Pediatric Dentist vs. General Dentist

The kids go to school, and you go to work. You drive the car, and they ride in it. You and your kids do different things, but do you need different dentists? If you are not sure whether you need a pediatric dentist for your child or a general dentist, this article can help you decide!

Pediatric Dentists vs. General Dentists 

Pediatric and general dentists have the same goals in mind - to promote and enhance oral health. However, there are differences between the two when it comes to training, patient demographics, and experience.

When to see a pediatric dentist

For some families, a pediatric dentist may make visits to the dental office less stressful. This is because pediatric dentists tend to have special tricks to make the experience fun for kids. We recommend using a pediatric dentist if:

  • Your child has dental anxietyPediatric offices are designed with kids in mind. They are often decorated with bright, fun colors and have toys available to play with. This alone can make an anxious child feel more at ease.
  • Your child has special needs. If your child has autism, Down syndrome, cleft palate, or any other special condition, a pediatric dentist will have the experience to make their visit comfortable.
  • A general dentist may not see a young child. In some cases, a general dentist may not feel comfortable treating a young child. If this is the case for your family, it is important to see a pediatric dentist by the time your child turns 1. 

When to have a general dentist for the entire family

Many times, families choose to have one dentist for the entire family. This is perfectly acceptable! One dentist for your family may make sense if:

  • Your family has a longstanding relationship with a specific dentist. Years of knowing each other will help all members of the family feel at ease when they see the dentist.
  • Your family has older children. Tweens and teens are more patient than little kids. They know what to expect and are open to new environments so they can handle going to a general dentist.
  • Convenience is important. If it is easier for you to gather the entire family to go to the dentist at one location, seeing a general dentist makes the most sense. If you are more likely to make regular appointments at one dental office than multiple offices, go with the general office. 

Oral health is the goal

Deciding to use a pediatric dentist for your kids or a general dentist for the entire family is a personal decision. Both dentists will provide excellent care and keep your mouths healthy. The most important thing is to have all members (even babies and toddlers) see the dentist regularly. 

*Updated September 2022