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

Pediatric dentists are dental health professionals that specialize in the oral health care of children, from infants to teenagers. Here, our Ontario dentists explain the difference between pediatric dentists and general dentists.

Here at  Toothworks, parents often ask us what the difference between a pediatric dentist and a general dentist is. More specifically, they ask about whether their child should be seen by a pediatric dentist rather than a general dentist.

Below, our Ontario dentists outline the key differences between general and pediatric dentists and discuss certain situations when you may want to consider bringing your child to a pediatric dentist.

What is a pediatric dentist?

Qualifications of a pediatric dentist

Pediatric Dentistry is one of nine dental specialties recognized by the Canadian Dental Association.

To become a dentist, you must go to dental school. Some dental school graduates move on immediately to practice as dentists, and these are the dentists that you know as general dentists.

To become a pediatric dentist in Canada, dental school graduates must complete an accredited advanced education program in pediatric dentistry. Once they have completed this program, they will attain a specialty designation from the Provincial Dental Regulatory Authority in their province.

What area of dentistry do pediatric dentists work in?

Pediatric dentists receive specialized training in the specific oral health care needs of children, ranging from infants to teenagers.

You may consider bringing your child to a pediatric dentist to address the following dental care needs:

  • 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 counselling: 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

Is it necessary for my child to be seen by a pediatric dentist?

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 would like to have your child seen by one of our pediatric dentists at , please contact our dental team today!

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Since 2001, Toothworks Dental Clinics have been providing patients of all ages with personalized dental care and a welcoming experience at locations across Ontario.

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