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What is a Pediatric Dentist?

Much like a pediatrician for your child’s healthcare needs, a pediatric dentist is important for your child’s dental health needs. The best time to start good oral health practices is when your child is young. To get started, you should find a pediatric dentist that is a good fit for your child and your family. Below is more specific information about pediatric dentistry and tips on how to find a pediatric dentist for your family.

Pediatric Dentists: Training and Experience

A pediatric dentist is a professional dentist who has completed additional coursework and training in the pediatric dentistry specialty to help them provide dental care to children. To become a pediatric dentist, a professional dentist will complete two to three years of additional training after completing dental school. You can imagine that the dental issues that are important and occur in young children are different than the dental issues faced by older adults. This is why the specialized coursework and additional training are so important. Once you find a pediatric dentist that is a good fit for your family, they should work closely with your family pediatrician to help meet the overall health care needs of your child.

Who Should See a Pediatric Dentist?

Generally, pediatric dentists treat children from birth to early adulthood, or around 18 years of age. At around the age of 18, it is recommended for young adults to start to see a general dentist. Additionally, pediatric dentists receive training in treating children with developmental issues or special needs. It is common for children with special needs to continue to see their pediatric dentist after they turn 18, because their dentist is already familiar with their dental history and needs.

Why is it So Important For Your Child To See A Pediatric Dentist?

The goal of a pediatric dentist is to prevent and treat tooth decay in children and help educate families on how to maintain good oral health. All dentists receive some training in pediatric dentistry because there is training and coursework in traditional dental school. This coursework is commonly taught by experienced pediatric specialists. This means that there are some general dentists who work in family dentistry practices who may be comfortable treating small children and have a good amount of experience treating children. One of the benefits of having your child see a pediatric dentist, who specializes in treating children, is the additional and specialized training they have in specific dental treatments for children.

How to Find a Pediatric Dentist that is a Good Fit For You?

If your family gets their dental treatments from a family dentistry practice, you should discuss with your dentist the best options for your child’s oral health care. If your dentist is not comfortable treating children, they may be able to provide you with a referral to a good pediatric dentist. Another great option, is to search the website of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD). AAPD is an organization for certified pediatric dentists and has tools to help you find dentists that are certified in your geographic area.

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