Pediatric Dentistry Vs. General Dentistry: What’s The Difference?

If you’re new to the Marshfield area and you’re looking for a dentist to care for your child’s teeth, you may be wondering what the difference is between a pediatric dentist and a general dentist. We want every parent to feel comfortable and informed when bringing their child to Marshfield Pediatric Dentistry, so here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to choosing a dentist for your kids: 

General Or “Family” Dentistry: Treatment For Patients Of All Ages

General dentistry is also sometimes called “family” dentistry, particularly when dentists see patients of all ages. However, it’s important to understand what qualifications general dentists actually have.

A general dentist is any dentist who has earned either a DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) or DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) degree. These degrees mean that the dentist has completed four years of undergraduate education, as well as four years of dental school, which includes both in-class training and hands-on learning in dental clinics. Most general dentists are also certified by the American Board of General Dentistry. 

Most general dentists do not have any particular dental specialty. You can think of a general dentist as the dental equivalent of a Primary Care Physician (PCP). They are qualified to do most dental procedures like fillings, crowns cosmetic dentistry, and other such dental services, but do not have a particular specialization. 

This also means that general dentists do not have any specialization in children’s dentistry. General dentists are able to provide excellent dental care to patients of all ages, but they do not have the same depth of knowledge and training in children’s dentistry compared to a pediatric dentist. 

Pediatric Dentistry: Specialized, Child-Focused Dental Care

If a general dentist is the dental equivalent of a Primary Care Physician, a pediatric dentist is the equivalent of a pediatrician. Unlike general dentists, pediatric dentists are specialists in treating children’s dental issues and they typically only provide care to kids (from toddlers to teenagers, and often young adults).

A pediatric dentist must earn their DMD or DDS degree, and then go through a post-graduate pediatric residency program, which usually takes between 2-3 years. During this program, they will learn about pediatric dentistry in-depth, with a focus on subjects like pediatric sedation, children’s orthodontics, and even things like child psychology and development. 

Once a pediatric dentist has completed the program, they must pass all remaining state requirements and examinations. Then, they will be certified as a pediatric dentist and can begin practicing. 

In contrast to general or “family” dentists, pediatric dentists rarely treat adult patients. They will see children from the age of birth through young adulthood. Your children will likely stop seeing a pediatric dentist between the ages of 18 and 22 years. 

Need A Pediatric Dentist In Marshfield? Get In Touch For A Consultation! 

General and family dentists provide good oral care for kids, but they are not specialists. If you want the best care for your child, you should turn to a pediatric dentist in Marshfield, such as Dr. Julie Hantson. 

At Marshfield Pediatric Dentistry, our team has the skills, expertise, and technology your child needs for the best preventive dental care. Ready to get started? Contact us for a consultation at (781) 205-1124, or stop by our office at 3 Proprietors Drive, Marshfield, MA 02050 for an in-person visit.

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