If we are just looking at the dentist training, a pediatric dentist has gone through 2-3 years of additional training (after 4 years of dental school) which focuses on infants, children, adolescents and those with special health care needs. The training is both didactic and clinical, and focuses on how to behaviorally manage children in the office to achieve the best clinical and emotional outcome. The training involves taking trauma call at a children’s hospital, obtaining training in sedation and performing dental surgery in the operating room. Many programs are also masters programs that require a research thesis defense at the end of training.
A general dentist that treats children went through 4 years of dental school which probably included some pediatric training depending on the school, but did not attend a specialized training program. Most general dentists that see children also see adult patients as well.
Whether your children see a pediatric or general dentist, the cornerstone to success is selecting a well trained provider you trust. At West U Pediatric Dentistry, we believe in being transparent. This helps us build strong, trusting relationships with our patients and their families.