Do General Dentists Treat Children As Well as Adults?

General Dentists Santa Ana, CA

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), children should see pediatric or general dentists by the age of one. You might be wondering if you can take your child to your own general dentist for a checkup. General dentists can treat children, but it may be better to take your child to a pediatric dentist. There are several reasons why you may want to consider this.

What do general dentists do?

A general dentist can provide a wide variety of dental services. This can range from general cleanings to fillings to root canal treatments. The dentist can also offer examinations, which are important for catching problems early. This can mean the difference between getting a simple filling early on or having to have a root canal treatment.

General dentists can offer dental examinations for children as well. The general dentist has the right tools to clean children’s teeth and fix any issues. However, a general dentist has not been specifically trained to work with children’s issues.


Whether an individual chooses a general or a pediatric dentist for their child, that dentist will have a college degree as well as four years of dental school. However, a pediatric dentist will have received more training than a general dentist. This is usually about two years more of training after dental school. Having an extra few years of training can allow the dentist to focus on several different things. These can include:

  • Developing teeth, which can have specific issues
  • Child psychology
  • Behavior of children
  • Physical growth of children
  • Treating children with special needs
  • How to make children feel more comfortable
  • Special considerations for children’s dentistry


General dentists will generally not have as much experience working with children as pediatric dentists. There are needs that children have that adults do not have. For example, children’s teeth are more likely to get cavities than adults. It is natural for children to lose teeth.

Pediatric dentists have experience in talking to children and making them feel more comfortable. As part of a pediatric dentist’s training, the dentist worked in hospitals with children. Dentists can be scary for young children. A pediatric dentist has experience in dealing with these fears. A pediatric dentist may also use smaller equipment that is more friendly-looking for the child. This equipment has been specially designed to fit in a child’s mouth. This can set the stage for how children perceive dentists when they grow up.

Visit a dentist today

While pediatric dentists can offer a better experience for children, general dentists are also knowledgeable in general exams and cleanings. While some general dentists may have age restrictions on patients, other general dentists will treat patients of all ages. If your general dentist sees children as well as adults, it is ultimately up to you to decide where to take your child. The important part is that your child starts regular dental visits from a young age.

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