Should My Child See a Pediatric Dentist?

Children's dentistAs adults, we all know the importance of oral health and maintaining an oral care regimen. But, what about your children? When should they see a dentist, and does it matter what type of dentist they see? Most babies get their first teeth around the age of 6 months. The ideal time to begin seeing a dentist is about 6 months after the first tooth erupts, so about 1 year of age. Many parents have the misconception that because baby teeth will eventually fall out, they don’t need to be properly cared for. This is false. Baby teeth, or milk teeth as they are often referred to, are important to take care of because they pave the way for healthy adult, or permanent, teeth.

In the dental industry today, there are many different types of dentists who specialize in certain areas. In fact, there are dentists who are specially educated to care for children. Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has 2-3 years of training after dental school that is geared towards caring for children’s teeth and dental issues as they relate to children. They learn about kid-specific entities such as sedatives for children, treating children under general anesthesia and behavior guidance, which allows the dentist to adapt their behavior to fit the needs of a child. This behavior guidance training also gives dentists the ability to learn about caring for those with special needs. Pediatric dentists are able to offer suggestions to parents on hygiene, diet and nursing factors that could cause or prevent oral health issues in children. Often, a pediatric dentists’ office environments are even geared towards children. They will see children from their very first dental appointment through the teenage years.

Is it necessary that your child see a pediatric dentist, though? It’s best to consult your family pediatrician or your family dentist. They can offer guidance in the best treatment for your child. If your child has abnormal oral health issues or severe dental anxiety, seeing a pediatric dentist may be a great option for you and your family. On the other hand, if your family has a standing relationship with a general dentist, and your child needs a regular checkup, seeing a general dentist would suffice. There are some general dentists who have received advanced training in children’s dentistry, even though they are not pediatric dentists. In this situation, it is up to the family to decide what is best for their child.

About the Author

I am a family dentist who treats children as well as adults. Making smiles people love, extreme makeovers and complex dental reconstruction is our niche including implants, TMJ, orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry. As a participant in the blog, I will be offering dental perspectives on pediatric safety and health care options on a regular basis. I can be reached at Blessings to all! Dr Williams is a member of the PedSafe Expert team


4 Responses to “Should My Child See a Pediatric Dentist?”

  1. That’s really interesting that pediatric dentists need additional training. I’ve been considering one of these specialists since I don’t feel an adult dentist would work out so well for my son. I’ll have to talk to a pediatric dentist and see what they feel the best options would be to get the best care. Thanks for the info!

    • Stefanie Zucker Stefanie Zucker says:

      You’re very welcome! And thanks for stopping by and letting us know the post was helpful 🙂

  2. Hi,
    The information you have provided is valuable and I want to give you a huge thumbs up for it.
    I think children should start seeing a dental practitioner as soon as their first teeth come in, at around 6 months. Because so much change occurs in a child’s mouth, it is recommended that they continue to see a pediatric dentist through adolescence.
    I will be waiting for the new updates:-)

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