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Pediatric Dentist vs. Family Dentist: Which One is the Best Dentist for Kids?

By September 27, 2022Kids Dentistry

Pediatric Dentist vs. Family Dentist

We all want the best for our kids. The best education. The healthiest food. Activities that excite and help them thrive. And, of course, the best health care for their growing minds and bodies. That last one? It definitely includes choosing the best dentist. 

You might know this already, but in dentistry, there are options for your kids. You can choose between a pediatric dentist or a family dentist. “But what’s the difference between a pediatric dentist vs. a family dentist?” you ask. “Can’t they both treat my kids?” Simply put, yes. But a pediatric dentist does have extra child development training that can make oral health that much easier for little ones.

To help you decide the best dentist for your kids, let’s dive into what family dentists and pediatric dentists are all about: their similarities, differences, and services they offer. We’ll talk about:

  • Training and credentials for a family dentist and a pediatric dentist
  • What a family dentist offers
  • What a pediatric dentist offers for kids
  • What we offer at Kids Mile High
  • How To Decide Between a Pediatric Dentist vs a Family Dentist

Training and Credentials for A Family Dentist and Pediatric Dentist

Both a family dentist and pediatric dentist go through the same type of doctoral training to become a dentist with a DDS or DMD designation. Different credentials? Nope, these designations are the same; they just have different histories behind the names. Fun fact: about two-thirds of universities grant a DDS degree so you’ll likely see that designation more often.

Dental school is most often four years of post-grad schooling after an undergraduate degree. What does it take to get into dental school? Before dental school in the US, a person must first have a bachelor’s degree, though you don’t have to be a specific major to be eligible for dental school. But most dental schools require science courses for admission, as well as passing the Dental Admissions Test (DAT), recommendation letters, a dental school personal statement and relevant extracurricular activities. 

So how about pediatric dentistry? How long does it take to become a pediatric dentist? Pediatric dentist training takes an extra 2-3 years in child psychology and development to better prepare for interacting and treating kids. Pediatric dentistry is a dental specialty — one of 12 recognized by the American Dental Association like orthodontics or dental anesthesiology.

You’ll be happy to know that all our Kids Mile High dentists completed specialty training to become qualified pediatric dentists. So whether your kids have Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, or Dr. Meredith as their dentist, you can be confident that your kids are in expert hands.

What a Family Dentist Offers

Now that you’re all clear on the schooling that a family dentist and a specialist like a pediatric dentist go through, you might wonder what they each offer their patients.

A family dentist serves a broad range of patients, from babies showing their first teeth to seniors needing restorative treatment. And they typically have a network of specialists nearby that they can refer patients to for specialized treatment such as orthodontics or oral surgery. 

Some families opt for a family dentist because of convenience. However, having a pediatric dentist just for your kids can mean your littles get attention and treatment that’s specifically kid-focused. Plus, you might end up seeing a pediatric dentist anyway — family dentists sometimes refer young patients to a pediatric specialist when dental decay is diagnosed and treatment is needed.

What A Pediatric Dentist Offers for Kids

As mentioned, a pediatric dentist has 2-3 years of additional training in child psychology and development to better interact and treat little ones. Pediatric dentist training is invaluable in helping kids feel safe, relaxed, and understood at the dentist. Your Denver-area kids’ dentist can safely say that kids dentistry is not only about helping kids have the best oral care possible, but also about creating an environment that is welcoming and fun. 

We all know — maybe even from our own childhood experiences — that going to the dentist might not be a favorite pastime for kids. A pediatric dentist knows where your kids are coming from and why, and can respond to their worries and anxieties about the dentist with sensitivity and encouragement. And if your kids have special needs, we at Kids Mile High are better equipped to care for your child with the right tools and strategies… all wrapped up in compassion and patience.

What We Offer at Kids Mile High

The team at Kids Mile High takes our pediatric dentistry know-how and ramps it up a notch. Your kiddos are superheroes, so we treat them as the strong and brave people they are, providing a dental care experience that matches their amazing-ness. 

Yes, we have pediatric dentistry training to start with, but we know that dentistry for kids isn’t just about a certificate on the wall. On top of our kid-specific credentials, we provide a fun dental care experience that makes your kids feel relaxed and happy they came. Consider the advantages we offer as your Denver-area pediatric dentist:

  • We explain treatment in kid-friendly terms so they understand what’s happening and feel like an active part of their visit
  • We have a “tell-show-do” approach: explaining every step, showing the equipment, and introducing what we’ll do before treatment begins
  • Our Englewood, Thornton and Central Park Offices are fun, colorful and kid-friendly, providing a distraction when needed
  • We use smaller, kid-friendly dental equipment
  • We use the latest technology to help us treat our young patients as efficiently and comfortably as possible
  • We use safe, BPA-free dental sealants pro-actively on your child’s teeth to prevent cavities before they start
  • We’re all about positive reinforcement — there’s no such thing as too much praise or encouragement for your kids at Kids Mile High!

Dentistry for Kids from A-Z at Kids Mile High:

Pediatric dentists treat children from infants to older teens. We’re here for your kids’ oral health from the time of their first gummy smile to when they head off for college. Dentistry for babies with no teeth? You might wonder. Yep, dental health starts with gum health and establishing good oral habits that will continue on when teeth appear. 

Need advice on the best foods for your child’s oral health? Your Denver-area pediatric dentist has the info. Wondering if your child’s prolonged pacifier or thumbsucking habits negatively affect their oral development? We’ll take a thorough look and work with you and your kiddo to develop a plan for stopping bad habits and starting positive ones. 

If your child needs braces, our dentists work closely with our in-house orthodontist, Dr. Brandon. That’s multiple specialties conveniently under one roof!

Technology With Your Kids in Mind

We know that quick, comfortable, safe, and fun are key words when it comes to kids’ dentistry. So, in addition to our kid-friendly approach, we use the following technology to make your kiddo’s time in the dentist chair as enjoyable as possible: 

Isolite® – This piece of equipment replaces the dental dams used for adult patients to isolate treatment areas. Isolite is soft and more comfortable for kids’ smaller mouths. Your kid also doesn’t have to worry about keeping their tongue away or suffer jaw pain from keeping their mouth open. Plus their airway is kept comfortably open.

Myobrace® – The Myobrace system is a series of appliances that gradually address issues like mouth breathing, thumbsucking, and tongue thrust — habits that can affect jaw alignment as your child grows. Myobrace also helps gently align teeth instead of braces. Kids will like that you don’t have to wear them at school; You only wear Myobrace for a couple of hours a day and overnight — so you can wear them when you’re at home and when you’re snoozing!

Waterlase™ – Super cool technology right here. For certain procedures on the teeth, gums, or bones, we use Waterlase instead of the traditional drill for a painless experience. WaterLase uses a combo of water, air and a laser to address everything from cavities to frenectomies.

How To Decide Between a Pediatric Dentist vs a Family Dentist

Knowing the differences and similarities between pediatric dentistry and family dentistry is helpful when choosing a kids’ dentist. But if you’re still not sure which way to go, we suggest making an appointment with us to find out what the pediatric dentistry experience at Kids Mile High is like. After all, you want a kids dentist that’s fun, where your kids feel at home and comfortable interacting with the dentist and staff.

A First Visit At Kids Mile High

A first visit with Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, or Dr. Meredith is all about starting your child’s dental health journey on the right foot. We want your kids to associate positivity and fun with their visits. You can choose whether to have your child on your lap or sit independently in the dentist chair while you observe — whatever makes them feel most comfortable. We get to know them and explain in kid-friendly language what going to the dentist is all about. 

Then we do a gentle exam, looking for cavities, gum infections, and any abnormalities in their mouth or throat. We check for jaw alignment and bite, and see if there’s space for their adult teeth. We’ll talk about habits like thumb-sucking and tongue thrust that can contribute to crooked teeth or a bad bite, and suggest ways to overcome those habits. We’ll also go through what you need for a good daily oral care routine that includes brushing and flossing.

For kids three and up, we’ll do a complete cleaning and apply fluoride to strengthen your kiddo’s teeth. And of course, a visit to Kids Mile High isn’t complete without prizes… and maybe a visit to the giant fish tank or mini putting green!

At Kids Mile High, we pride ourselves on pediatric dentistry that’s a little less dental and a whole lot of fun. Coupled with the latest in technology and exceptional care, you can trust that your kids will receive care that’s just right for them every time.

Contact us today to make a first appointment at our Englewood, Central Park, or Thornton, CO office . We’re here to help your little superhero ace their oral health mission!