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

Whether you’re a new parent in Houston and you’re looking for your child’s first dentist, or you recently moved to the area and need a dentist for your child, you may be wondering what the difference is between a pediatric dentist and a general dentist. 

Do they specialize in different treatments? Is it better to choose one or the other for your children? At Big Picture Pediatric Dentistry, we want every parent to know what to expect from our services, so here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing between a pediatric and general dentist:

General Dentists Treat Patients Of All Ages

A general dentist is any dentist who has earned a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) degree. This means they have completed 4 years of undergraduate education, and typically four years of dental school. In addition, most general dentists are also board certified by the American Board of General Dentistry. 

General dentists are also known as family dentists if they treat patients of all ages. They do not have any particular dental specialty and usually function as a primary care provider for things like teeth cleanings, fillings, cosmetic dentistry, and other dental services.

It’s also important to note that while a general dentist can also be called a family dentist, they cannot use the title “pediatric dentist” unless they have become certified in the specialty of pediatric dentistry. 

A general dentist does not have any kind of specialization in children’s dentistry. While they may provide great dental care for patients of all ages, a general dentist will typically lack the same focus on pediatric dental health compared to a pediatric dentist.

Pediatric Dentists Exclusively Treat Children & Teenagers

To become earn a pediatric specialization, a dentist who has earned their DMD or DDS must also undergo additional training after dental school. This usually involves a 2-3 year pediatric residency program. 

During this residency program, the pediatric dentist will learn more about the common conditions that affect children and focus on areas of study like children’s orthodontics, oral surgery for children, and even things like child psychology and development. Then, once they have passed all required board examinations and certifications in their state, the title of pediatric dentist will be conferred upon the dentist. 

Unlike general dentists, pediatric dentists typically do not treat adult patients. They focus on children from the age of birth to about 18 years old, though some pediatric dentists will continue to see young adult patients who are 22 years of age or older.

Which is a Better Option: A Pediatric Or General Dentist?

This really depends on what you’re looking for. If you want a “one-stop-shop” where you and your children can be treated by the same dentist, a general or family dentist may be a good option, especially if your children don’t have any serious dental issues.

However, if you want the best possible care for your kids, a specialist pediatric dentist like Dr. Brock will be able to provide better, more comprehensive care. If your child has oral development or orthodontic issues, it may be better to see a pediatric dentist.

Learn More About Our Office!

If you’d like to learn more about the differences between general dentistry and pediatric dentistry, we recommend coming in for a consultation at Big Picture Pediatric Dentistry.

Dr. Brock would be happy to discuss our services in further detail, and explain why we’re the best choice for pediatric dentistry in Friendswood, Dickinson, La Porte, and Seabrook. Contact us now at (281) 461-7470 to get started today, or stop by our office at 17150 El Camino Real, Houston TX 77058. 

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