When you take your family to the dentist, it’s usually for something like a six-month checkup and dental cleaning. But when it comes to children, you have the option of taking your kids to a general or pediatric dentist; what’s the difference?

Training and Education Requirements

All pediatric dental specialists were general dentists first, but regular family dentists aren’t specialists. As a Pediatric Dentist, Dr. Monamie Ghatak has a foundation of four years of dental school (the requirement for all general practitioners) but an additional two years of specialized training in children’s dentistry.

As mandated by the ADA, all dental specialists have an additional 2years of formal specialized education in a specific field of oral health, for a total of 6 years of training. General family dentists often do not have any extra specialized training.

Pediatric Services Offered

General dentists do provide most routine pediatric services, such as checkups, cleanings, dental sealants, fluoride, and small fillings. However, their offices typically lack the resources to provide more therapeutic or restorative techniques for smaller mouths. Either unique equipment and supplies are required, or it may be that the procedure is one that a family dentist doesn’t perform on a very frequent basis.

However, MPD offers comprehensive children’s dental care on a daily basis. As such, Dr. Ghatak is able to work more efficiently, keep your child as comfortable as possible, and complete everything in one location.

Some of the treatments you would find in a pediatric dentist office (but not a family practice) include:

  • Pulpotomies
  • Pediatric dental crowns
  • Behavioral management
  • Special needs dentistry
  • Minimally invasive treatment options
  • Early interceptive orthodontics
  • Tongue tie or lip tie therapy
  • Space maintenance for early tooth loss
  • Emergency dentistry for kids
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Anxious Children and Special Needs

As a pediatric dentist, Dr. Ghatak has extensive training and experience in behavioral management and working with medically fragile children. Whether your child has a developmental delay or a physical impairment, we’re able to provide a comfortable level of care where they receive the best treatment possible.

Some of the unique situations that a pediatric dentist would be able to help with include needs like Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, ADHD, Autism, Epilepsy, or sensory impairment.

Laughing gas or further behavior management may be necessary; when it is, family dentists usually refer your child to a pediatric dentist because of the special accommodations that are required.

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Do I Need a Referral to See a Pediatric Dentist?

No, you do not. Merrifield Pediatric Dentistry accepts children of all ages whether you’re calling for a first-time checkup or you’ve been sent to our office by your family’s general dentist. In years’ past, it was common for certain types of insurance to require a referral to see a dental specialist but taking your child to a pediatric dentist office usually does not.

Call Us Today!

Our local team provides age-appropriate resources to help children care for their smiles as best as possible. From learning how to brush and floss to making smart nutritional choices, we give your family the resources necessary to significantly lower the risks of tooth decay and dental emergencies.

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