When choosing dental care for your family, you may be tempted to select a family dentist. The convenience of having all of your dental needs handled under one roof is hard to beat. However, you may be surprised to learn that your dental care needs vary greatly from your child’s, and that many family dentists refer children to a pediatric dentist.

Children’s mouths are constantly changing and developing. Even before the first tooth erupts, there are a lot of changes that happen beneath the gums. There are many factors that affect these changes, such as hormones, growth spurts, diet, genetics, the list goes on.

So, why choose a pediatric dentist? Don’t they learn the same things as a general dentist? The answer is yes – and no. A pediatric dentist specifically chooses their profession to study the dental needs of children in-depth. A pediatric dentist studies typically 2-3 years beyond that of a general dentist in order to learn about child development, emotional development, child psychology, children with special needs, childhood diseases, and much more. Typically, a pediatric dentist also participates in continuing education specifically geared towards the dental needs of children.

Psychology plays an important role in pediatric dentistry. A pediatric dentist is trained to handle children that may have anxiety about the dentist, as well as provide helpful tips for parents in order to help them prepare for appointments and cut down on the unneeded fear of the dentist.

Here’s an infographic to show you a short side-by-side comparison of pediatric dentistry vs. general dentistry.

General dentist versus Pediatric Dentist infographic