Many parents wish to know, “Should we visit a pediatric or family dentist?” This is an understandable question because there are a variety of dental offices to choose from. Selecting the right one for your family is the first step in helping everyone to maintain good oral health. Here are some things to consider.
Some family dentists will not treat children that are younger than elementary-age. If a child is one to six or seven-years-old, the only option may be to take them to a pediatric dentist. It is important to ask a dentist what ages they treat prior to scheduling an appointment.
For parents who have a wide age range of children, visiting a pediatric dentist may be the best way to ensure all children in the family can receive their care from one location. However, if all children are over the age of eight, a family dentist office may be the better choice.
If there are concerns about a child being able to sit still during their dental treatment, it may be best for them to visit a pediatric dentist office. Most will have solutions to help keep children entertained such as television screens above their head, toys in the office, books and other activities.
This can help a child to be entertained in the waiting room and also to be distracted while the exam or treatment is taking place. Some family dentist offices offer this as well, though it is rarer since they treat all ages, including adults.
If any of the children in the family suffer from oral health problems, it is wise to look for a dentist who specializes in treating them. For example, there may be a dentist in town who has more experience in performing surgery on children. Generally, this would be a pediatric dentist. Other local dentists may have more experience with cosmetic restorations. In this case, a family dentist who focuses on cosmetic dentistry may be the best solution.
If a child has dental anxiety or is fearful of having their teeth cleaned or cavities filled, a dentist who offers sedation is going to be the best option. Most pediatric dentist offices will use laughing gas to help young patients relax. Some family dentist offices do as well but it is not as common for them to use sedation on young children. Ask a dentist if they offer sedation prior to scheduling an appointment.
A pediatric and family dentist will both provide a high level of care and help patients’ teeth to remain healthy. Which one you select will ultimately be up to the age of your family, scheduling concerns and any oral health problems that family members are facing. To find out what our office can do for your family or to learn more about our services, call and schedule an appointment.