What Is The Difference Between A Dentist And A Pediatric Dentist?

If you’re looking to take your child to a dental office for the first time, you may be wondering what the difference is between a “general” or “family” dentist, and a pediatric dentist. What type of dentist is right for your child and your family? In this blog from Willow Pediatric Dentistry, we’ll explain everything that you need to know. 

General Or Family Dentists Typically Treat Patients Of All Ages

Most dentists are “general” or “family” dentists. These dentists treat patients of all ages, and usually offer services like regular oral exams and teeth cleanings, fillings, tooth extractions, care for gum disease, and other such common treatments for their patients.

A general or family dentist does not have to have any special qualifications other than earning a  DMD/DDS degree from an accredited dental school, and passing all local and state requirements to practice dentistry. 

General and family dentists typically do provide high-quality dental care. However, it is important to note that, even though they do treat kids, they don’t specialize in children’s dentistry. You may not get the same level of treatment for your child at a general or family dentist as you would from a specialized pediatric dentist.

Pediatric Dentists Have Additional Training & Focus Exclusively On Children’s Dentistry

In contrast to family and general dentists, pediatric dentists like Dr. Sam Alzayat at Willow Pediatric Dentistry only treat kids. In most cases, pediatric dentists treat children from infancy all the way through their teenage years. Your child will typically stop seeing a pediatric dentist at the age of 18 at the latest, though some pediatric dentists are willing to keep providing services to young, college-aged adults.

Because these dentists only treat children, they have additional specializations and qualifications that must be met before they can operate as “pediatric dentists.” In order to qualify as a pediatric dentist, a dentist must first earn their DMD or DDS degree. 

But after this, they will need to be accepted into a two-year residency program focusing on pediatric dentistry. In this time, the pediatric dentist will gain experience treating common dental health issues in children, and will learn related concepts about child development, psychology, and more. Once their residency has concluded, the dentist must then pass local and state exams to qualify as a pediatric dentist, and receive their license to practice pediatric dentistry. 

What’s Better For My Child? A General/Family Dentist Or A Pediatric Dentist? 

It’s likely that your child can get excellent preventive dental care from either a family dentist, or a pediatric dentist. However, if you want to make sure your child gets the best possible treatment in a child-friendly environment, a pediatric dentist may be a better option.

Pediatric dentists simply have more knowledge and experience when it comes to treating children. In addition, pediatric offices like Willow Pediatric Dentistry are typically set up with children in mind, with kid-focused amenities that can keep your child feeling safe, happy, and comfortable at the dentist. 

Learn More About Pediatric Dentistry At Our Office! 

If you’re looking for a pediatric dentist in Santa Margarita and Rancho Santa Margarita, Dr. Sam Alzayat is here to help. At Willow Pediatric Dentistry, we serve children exclusively, and provide the very best dental care for kids of all ages. Learn more by scheduling an appointment or office tour today. You can contact us online or give us a call at (818) 606-6622 to get started.

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22032 El Paseo, Suite 215
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688

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