It’s time for your child to visit the dentist, and you’ve got a decision to make. Some dentists call themselves “family dentists” or “general dentists” who serve both children and adults. Others say they are “board-certified pediatric dentists.” Sure, it sounds fancy – but is there really a difference?
Absolutely! It all comes down to education and training. Let’s explore what it means to be a board-certified pediatric dentist, and why Smiles In Motion Pediatric Dentistry is the ideal place to care for your child’s smile.
Family dentists and general dentists are one and the same
The term “family dentist” is a label that some general dentists give themselves to indicate their willingness to treat both children and adults. However, there are no differences in education or training between a general dentist and a family dentist. Like all dentists, they must both graduate from dental school and earn their state dental licenses.
Board-certified pediatric dentists take their education and training even further
After graduating from dental school, pediatric dentists complete two additional years of training that go far beyond general dental care. Pediatric dentists not only learn how to diagnose and treat children, but they are trained in child psychology, child development, caring for children with special needs, and much more.
But that’s not all – to become a board-certified pediatric dentist, they must also pass oral and written examinations administered by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. The oral exam focuses on pediatric dental clinical skills, while the written exam demonstrates their knowledge of current pediatric dentistry techniques and scientific principles related to pediatric dentistry.
All doctors on the Smiles in Motion Pediatric Dentistry team are board-certified, which means that when we treat your child, you can rest assured we have the best education, training, and decades of experience available.
We focus solely on the dental needs of children
Just as a pediatrician understands the specific medical needs of children, a pediatric dentist understands the specific dental needs of children. Children’s needs are very different than adults, mainly because their young mouths are constantly growing and changing.
Once we reach adulthood and our permanent teeth are in, our mouths remain pretty much the same. However, a pediatric dentist must continuously focus on how a child’s dental issues could affect the future development of their teeth and jaw, and then react accordingly. For example:
- Should a problematic tooth be removed now to improve the chances that other teeth will develop normally?
- If a baby tooth is removed, can we make sure the permanent tooth will come in properly?
- Will a child’s bite issues cause tooth loss, jaw problems, or other issues later in life?
Don’t worry, no crystal balls are needed. Smiles In Motion pediatric dentists know exactly how to intervene early to prevent future problems and can suggest treatment options based on your child’s stage of oral development.
Baby teeth require special care
The anatomy of a baby tooth is very different from a permanent tooth. Pediatric dentists are trained to understand baby teeth inside and out. They also perform specific procedures on baby teeth and immature permanent teeth, such as baby root canals (yes, they really do exist).
In addition to baby teeth, many other dental issues are seen exclusively in children. These include natal teeth (teeth present at birth) and lip-tie or tongue-tie, which can make feeding difficult. Cavities and tooth decay are a problem at any age but can lead to serious complications if they occur before the age of six. Pediatric dentists are specially trained to recognize and treat issues like these.
We understand how children think and feel
There’s a reason why studying child psychology and child development is part of becoming a board-certified pediatric dentist. Children are often afraid or nervous when they visit the dentist’s office, especially when they are young. They may also struggle with sitting still during their treatment.
Smiles In Motion pediatric dentists know how to ease their fears and create a positive experience from start to finish. Sometimes, the parent is just as stressed as their child! At Smiles In Motion Pediatric Dentistry, you can sit knee-to-knee with your child’s dentist, allowing your child to lay back between the two of you in a safe, nurturing environment. We know there may still be tears, and that’s okay. We are trained to handle them.
Smiles In Motion pediatric dentists also know how to talk to children. During your child’s exam, we explain what we are doing in “kid terms” and show them our instruments. It’s all about making your child feel as comfortable as possible with patience and compassion.
We provide a fun kid-friendly environment
Every square inch of Smiles In Motion Pediatric Dentistry is designed to make it a happy place for kids. Most family dentist and general dentist offices do not have kid-friendly elements such as slides in the waiting room, video games, TVs above every exam station, or fun goodie bags. Yet they can all help make going to the dentist a much more positive experience for young people.
Make an appointment to see a board-certified pediatric dentist
You don’t have to take our word for it – schedule an appointment at Smiles In Motion Pediatric Dentistry and come see for yourself! From the moment you walk through our doors, our pediatric dentists will treat you and your child like family.
You can trust Smiles In Motion Pediatric Dentistry to meet all your child’s dental needs and then some. To schedule an appointment, contact us today.