When the time comes to take your child to the dentist, you have a choice to make. You can take them to a general dentist who treats patients of all ages, or you can take them to a pediatric dentistry specialist. There is not exactly a right or wrong approach. General dentists are completely qualified and able to take care of kids' teeth. However, there are some advantages to seeing a dentist who specializes in pediatrics. Here are the major ways in which a pediatric dental practice generally differs from a general dental practice.
Smaller Chairs and Equipment
At a general dentistry practice, the equipment is usually sized for adults. There may be a few devices that are made smaller and used specifically for kids, but the chairs and other major appliances are full-size. At a pediatric dental practice, on the other hand, everything will be kid-sized. The chairs will be better sized for your child, so they will be more comfortable, and everything from the x-ray devices to the cleaning tools will fit in your child's small mouth better.
Child-Friendly Waiting Areas
Waiting rooms can be boring! The waiting room at a pediatric dental office, however, will be a lot more welcoming to kids. There will probably be some toys that the kids can play with. There may be some child-friendly books and magazines for older kids. If there is a TV in the waiting room, you can expect it to be showing a kid-friendly program. All of these features will help your child feel more comfortable in the dental office, which will make seeing the dentist less of a challenging experience.
Focus on Parental Guidance
Pediatric dentists and their hygienists are often trained to help guide parents in caring for their children's teeth. For instance, the dentist may teach you how to brush your child's teeth and give you some pointers for helping your child floss. It's not that general dentists cannot do these things, but it's not the focus of their practice, and they may not do it with as much finesse.
There are certain procedures that are performed very often on kids' teeth. Applying sealants, filling baby teeth, and giving fluoride treatments are good examples. General dentists may do these things once in a while, but pediatric dentists do them all the time — so they are more experienced and better-versed in the latest techniques.
If you can find a pediatric dentist in your area, taking your child to their office is a great choice! Make an appointment and see for yourself.