Does Your Child Need a Family or Pediatric Dentist? Here’s The Difference


Whether you’re just finding a new dentist for your family or have a new arrival on the way, you want to be sure your dentist can handle your needs. Your child will progress through various developmental stages along their way to maturity. At each stage, they will face different health needs related to their changing oral health. It’s essential to recognize the different types of dentists available and when you may need a more specialized provider to meet your child’s needs.

Does Your Child Require A Specialized Dentist?

All dentists can provide effective care for patients of every age, regardless of specialty. However, a more specialized form of care may be necessary when complex oral health concerns are present. Three types of dentists are focused on providing care for the entire family. General dentists are the most common and are among the most common type of dentist people see. Family dentists are more specialized and dedicated to providing effective care at all stages of life. These dentists learn a little more than generalists about the various ailments that occur at the different stages of life. Pediatric dentists are focused explicitly on the early development of our teeth.

While this may make it sound like a pediatric dentist is suitable for every child, this isn’t necessarily the case. Pediatric dentists are a tightly focused form of oral health care provider. The general care they provide isn’t notably different from that received from a general or family dentist. They shine in cases of complex oral health issues or children with developmental or mental health concerns that require special handling. Below we’ll outline the difference between family and pediatric dentists:

  • Family Dentists: These dentists walk the line between a generalist and a specialist. Their form of specialty is generalized to stage of life care. They can provide primary dental care for patients of all ages but are well-educated on developmental concerns and those that face aging patients. They’re often popular with families both for their ability to serve the entire family and the convenience of using a single facility for dentistry.
  • Pediatric Dentists: These specialists are tightly focused on the dental needs of infants, children, and teenagers. They’ll shine in cases where the oral health concerns their patients face are complex in nature. They’ll also be better able to accommodate young patients struggling with severe dental anxiety, special needs, or behavioral concerns. However, the most significant drawbacks of going with a pediatric dentist are their separate location and the need to transition to adult care at adulthood.

In general, the majority of younger patients will have all their needs met by seeing a family dentist. When a pediatric specialist is needed, both general and family dentists will refer you to one.

Consult Your Family Dentist Today

If you’re concerned your child may require a greater degree of specialized dental care, speak to your dental provider. They’ll be able to address your concerns and advise whether additional care is necessary for your child’s oral health. Schedule an appointment for your consultation today!

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Dr. Jeannie Molato, DMD – Top Dentist in Bakersfield, CA

The art and science of dentistry has become my career’s passion. I can utilize my artistic passion and skill to give my patients smiles they have always dreamed of. I am also able to relieve my patients of their pain and discomfort, restore function to better their quality of life and educate the patients how to take care and maintain their oral health.