When seeking out a new dental office for your family, you may be confused about the difference between a pediatric and a family dentist. Furthermore, you may be wondering which one is better for your needs. The following guide can help you make the decision.
Pediatric vs Family Dentistry
There are two main factors that separate a pediatric dentist from a family dentist.
- Schooling. Both types of dentist attend dental school for their initial degree. They may also take on additional education. For a pediatric dentist, this training is in handling the specific needs of young patients. This training includes everything from treating children's dental issues to handling behavior issues in the exam room.
- Age restrictions. Although there are no rules dictating age restrictions, many pediatric dentists restrict their services to children. Some will treat children up to 18 years of age, while others have more severe age limits, such as cutting off new patient registration at 13 or even 10 years old. Family dentists, on the other hand, tend to treat patients of all ages without any restrictions.
When is pediatric care preferred?
You may decide to opt for a pediatric dentist in cases where the extra training they undergo will benefit your child. For example, if you have a child with challenging behavioral needs or a child that has a disability that can affect behavior, such as an autism spectrum disorder, a trained pediatric dentist may be preferred. Another reason to seek out specific pediatric services is if your child has a severe dental issue that will require ongoing treatment, such as severe tooth decay, bite issues, or issues with the baby teeth forming and coming in correctly.
When should you choose a family dentist?
In most cases, a family dentist will be an excellent and convenient choice. By opting for a family dentist, your entire family can use the same office, thus making it possible to save time and trips when it comes to scheduling appointments for multiple people. Although a family dentist may not have specific pediatric training, they do have sufficient training for treating young patients. As an added benefit, your child can stay with the same dental clinic well into adulthood if they so choose. A family dental clinic may also be able to offer more in-house services, such as minor cosmetic procedures, that one would not necessarily find at a pediatric-only clinic.
For more help, contact a dental office in your area.