Most families with young children use a pediatrician for health care needs that require age-based specialists, and dentistry is no different. Pediatric dentist specialists fill a vital role in oral medicine; here are some answers to a few questions you should consider using a specialist for your child.
Pediatric dentists treat children from birth through to college. If a child has unique developmental issues or needs to be seen in a hospital setting due to another medical condition, a pediatric dentist is uniquely qualified to provide that treatment. Often, children with special needs that persist into adulthood are seen beyond the age of 18. The benefits of this are that their pediatric dentist knows their dental history and the special treatment and procedures needed before and during treatment
Pediatric dentists are professionals who have completed a specialized course of dentistry that caters to children who have special needs or otherwise need gentler care. The program consists of two to three years of further training after graduation from dental school. It includes hospital training, where they work with children who have more severe dental needs and emergencies, and training in numerous orthodontic teeth-straightening methods. Pediatric dentists work closely with pediatricians and general dentists, who refer select patients for this specialized dental treatment that requires this advanced training.
All general dentists are trained in pediatric dentistry in dental school and are predominantly taught by pediatric specialists on staff. Some general dentists are more comfortable than others in treating small children, especially if their practice serves many families and they're familiar with common behavioral conditions that need to be addressed during treatment. But it is subjective to the practice; if a general dentist is not comfortable treating a young or special needs child, a referral is in order.