Not all dentists are able to see child patients. So, knowing the difference between a general dentist or a family dentist and a pediatric dentist is important. Choosing the right dentist ensures that you get the best care for every member of your family.
Are all dentists able to see child patients?
Pediatric dentists and family dentists have the education, training, and experience necessary to provide top-notch dental care to children of all ages. So whether you have an infant, toddler, elementary school aged child, preteen, teen or special needs child, a family dentist can care for your child’s teeth, gums and mouth. This type of dentist will understand the perspectives and needs of children, and there are a few more years of training involved as well.
What makes family and pediatric dentists stand apart from a general dentist?
While both family and general dentists have the same goal of helping their patients maintain healthy teeth and gums, family dentists are trained to address the unique physiologic, emotional, and social needs of their young patients. Whereas most dentists are able to practice adult dentistry immediately after four years of dental school, family dentists complete two to three more years of advanced training. This extra clinical education prepares them for the special medical issues of infants, children, adolescents, including those with extraordinary needs.
Education for a family dentist focuses specifically on the medical and dental health aspects of children. While most general dentists treat a broad range of dental issues, a family or pediatric specialist acts as a “pediatrician” in charge of oral health. Early dental problems, including baby bottle tooth decay, pacifier use, and routine care of an infant’s teeth are all commonly handled in the pediatric dental practice. Family dentists also follow children from a very early age through their adolescence and are able to closely monitor their growth and development over time. This facilitates early recognition and referral of problems such as the need for orthodontic evaluation.
Not every health care professional is well suited or has the education to care for children. It takes a special amount of patience, compassion, and skill to handle a child expressing natural fears related to new experiences, unfamiliar environments, parental separation, anxiety, or pain. Dr. Elbrecht is this type of professional. He loves working with children, and in turn, his patients love coming to see him. They always want to know when they can come back at the end of their visit. Dr. Elbrecht, who is also a parent, has dedicated his career to caring for your children in a warm, nurturing, and safe place.