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October 25, 2018 2 min read

Dr. Jim Ellis fills us in on if we should be taking our kids to a pediatric dentist.

- Dr. Ellis for Oral Care Club, answering a question that we get all the time, and that's pediatric dentists? Do I need to take my child to a pediatric dentist, or can I simply take them to a general practice dentist? The answer to that is yes, and I will explain. Most children that don't have an overly hyped up fear of the dentist, and just need a cleaning, a filling, a simple extraction for a baby tooth that just won't leave, a general practice dentist is just fine. General practice dentists are completely licensed and capable of doing that kind of thing.

Pediatric dentists are fantastic for the special circumstances. I, myself, have taken my own daughter to a pediatric dentist, and I will explain that as well. If your child is very fearful, whether, just, that's their personality, or they've had trauma in the past with medical situations, or whatever the case may be, then a pediatric dentist is great, because they are capable of sedating your child. Whether, just a small bit, or all the way to completely unconscious. Pediatric dentists have that extra training that general practitioners do not, to sedate your child. And, that is a fantastic use for the anxious child.

Also, if your child has special health situations, whether cardiac problems, or deformities in cleft lip and palate. Whatever the case may be, if there's any kind of special circumstances that's also a great place for your child to go. Root canals is another thing, your child needs a root canal on a tooth, a baby tooth is not the same as a permanent tooth, that's also a great circumstance to take your child to a pediatric dentist, because there's a little more, there can be a little more specialty in that situation. My child fell, hit their front tooth on a piece of furniture.

Big abcess under the nose, the lip. My child did not want me to come within 10 feet of them with a needle and a drill, and so I took my own child to a pediatric dentist, she was sedated and it was a fantastic experience and my child doesn't remember anything. So it worked out very, very well. So that's the thing, is you have to understand, that for the everyday routine things a general dentist is great. The pediatric dentist can come in if there's a little more something that needs to be done.

If you have a question on whether your child fits into the pediatric dentist or the general dentist category, first tip would be to go to your general dentist. And then ask them if they feel capable and confident and then gauge their response and then see if they would like to send you up to the pediatric dentist level. So pediatric dentists are a fantastic resource when needed, but for the general things, for the everyday routine things, a general dentist would do just fine for your children. Have a good one.