You know that you need to take care of your little one’s dental health. But you may be unsure if you should take them to see a pediatric dentist or a general practitioner. Is there a difference?

Short answer- YES! A pediatric dentist specializes in caring for young children and teens. Your family dentist is a great choice for you but not necessarily for your child. It’s easy to think of kids of mini adults but they’re bodies are actually quite different. Caring for baby teeth requires special attention.

Experts recommend that kids have their first oral exam when they’re just one year old. If the thought of your squirming, squealing toddler sitting in a chair while a stranger pokes metal objects into their mouth fills you with apprehension, you’re not alone. Fear of the dentist is so common among kids that it’s almost expected.

A pediatric dentist will be able to handle to your child’s discomfort better than a regular practitioner. Someone who specializes in pediatric undergoes 2-3 years of additional training. They learn about child psychology and develop strategies to help them deal with panicking patients.

Here are a few more reasons why a pediatric dentist is the right choice for your child.

Differences in Training

The biggest difference between a general dentist and one who focuses on pediatrics is the amount of training that they receive. Every dentist must obtain a bachelor’s degree before attending dental school for four years. Those interested in caring for children must then complete an additional residency for at least two years.

Children don’t have the same needs as adults. Baby teeth will eventually fall out but it’s still crucial to take care of them. Problems can arise with your child’s permanent teeth if her mouth is in bad condition.

“Children that are introduced to the dentist at an early age tend to be the patients that are most comfortable going to the dentist as they get older. If your child is already past this age, don’t worry! It’s never too late to get your child on the path to good dental health,” notes Springs Pediatric Dental Care in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Colorado families in the area should take a look at the clinic. Your nervousness might be quenched if you visit a practitioner that’s been thoroughly vetted.

A Better Experience for Your Child

Pediatric dentist offices are designed with their young patients in mind. Instead of the drab walls and sterile waiting rooms you might be used to seeing, the average pediatric office pops with color and fun visuals. The environment is warm and encouraging.

A frightened child might forget about her worries if she plays games in the waiting room before her appointment.

A knowledgeable pediatric dentist won’t rush through the appointment. He’ll take his time to make sure that your little one is completely comfortable. Instead of simply jamming his tools into the child’s mouth, he’ll take his time and explain what he’s doing.

Potential Problems are Avoided

Pediatric dentists understand children. Your child may know how to brush her teeth but that doesn’t mean that she’s very good at it. Young people are prone to cavities because they often consume a lot of sugar and their tooth brushing habits are just being formed. It’s typical for kids to miss a lot of spots when they’re cleaning their mouths. Pediatric dentists understand this and are equipped to take care of the neglected areas.

If there’s something more serious than too much plaque going on, the dentist will be able to spot that as well. Pediatric specialists are trained to notice problems that might affect children.

Kids Dentist

Healthy Habits are Instilled

A good pediatric dentist will tailor his treatment to your child’s stage in life. A 1-year-old has different needs than a teenager about to graduate college. Younger children will be taught how to properly care for their teeth, a habit that they can carry with them their entire lives.

A Pediatric Dentist is the Right Choice

The best way to protect your child’s health is to make sure that you’re seeing the right doctors and specialists. A visit to a general dentist won’t harm your child but it’s not the best option. There’s a reason that there are so many pediatric dentists in the country and it’s not because they all wanted a special title. There’s a legitimate need for their work.

“It makes perfect sense that the best way to meet your child’s unique dental needs is to go to a dentist that specializes in pediatric dentistry,” writes Colorado’s Springs Pediatric Dental Care.

The evidence is clear. It’s absolutely worth it to take your child to a specialized dental practice while they’re young. A pediatric dentist is the most qualified person to take care of your child’s oral health.