"Does my child need a pediatric dental specialist?"
I'm not going to answer this yes or no! But I will explain some differences between a trained pediatric dentist and your "average" general or family dentist. If I had, lets say, a 6 year old with a cavity or two, or I was concerned with crowding of teeth and possible orthodontics, and, my child had a fear of medical personnel from past unpleasant experiences, what would I do? Here are some things to think about:
1) Will your dentist understand young children, their likes, dislikes, past fears, etc. and be able to reduce anxiety before and during treatment?
2) Will your dentist understand growth and development of kids as they transition from baby teeth to adult teeth? Do they know about space management and early orthodontic care? Are they able to provide early preventive treatment to lessen the chance of full braces later on?
3) Can the dentist provide much of cavity treatment with nitrous oxide thus eliminating the need for needles?
4) Will they provide you with information and timely treatment if your child is a thumb sucker or has had extended pacifier use affecting their bite?
These are just a few of the areas a pediatric dentist most likely understands better than your family dentist. And, here's a big area that many parents don't understand. Many think that a specialist will charge higher fees and want to do more treatment. National fee surveys have shown that pediatric dentists' fees are very similar to general dentists'. And, if you have dental insurance, and the dentist is a provider in your network, then it really doesn't matter what the fee is because the dentist has to agree to accept what the insurance pays them and they can't bill you for the difference unless your particular plan pays less than the insurance allows. Then, you would pay that difference.
So all things considered, why wouldn't you want to have your child seen and treated by a trained children's specialist? If you have any questions about dentistry for your child, please feel free to call our office any time and ask to speak directly to me. If I am busy, I will most certainly call you back after hours.