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Is Your Child's Dentist a Pediatric Specialist?

Posted Feb 15 2010 4:00am
Many parents take their children to the Pediatrician for their expertise and training in the treatment of children and adolescents. This is also the idea behind the Pediatric Dentist. A Pediatric Dentist has completed additional education beyond dental school in an officially recognized specialty program. They are the Pediatricians of Dentistry.

If a dental practice says they treat children, are they "Pediatric Specialists"? Well, maybe --and maybe not. If you saw an add for these practices, wouldn't you think they are specialists in Pediatric Dentistry? Fact is, you cannot tell by the name or the advertisements
Kids-R-Us
Little Smiles
Wee folks

I have run into an increasing phenomenon of practices "pretending" to be specialists in Pediatric Dentistry. They are usually general dentists who have set up a business model to emphasize the treatment of children. The most common manifestation is the clinic or practice treating mainly Medicaid insured patients. Now, a general dentist can legally treat children usually as part of a family practice. In fact, some general dentists do a good job, but do not have the additional specialty training and education of a Pediatric Dentist. In most states it is illegal to call onself a Pediatric specialist if one is not. These practices usually do not offer the full range of services as the specialist. Marketing can easily decieve the public. Don't assume that, if a practice looks like a kid's dentist, that they really are specialists.

Make sure your child's dentist is really a specialist in Pediatric Dentistry. If you are not sure, ask. Ask specifically if the dentist is a specialist in Pediatric Dentistry. Listen for the answer. If they say, "our dentists treat children" or "yes, we see children" or, "our practice is dedicated to treating children", they really did not answer your question. You need to be specific and get a specific answer. You can even research on where they did their specialty residency after dental school. Some states requre a specialty license. Now, sometimes there is a group practice that does actually have a Pediatric specialist on staff. However, is the dentist that is treating your child the specialist?--or, is that Pediatric Dentist retired, or only come in every other Friday? It could be that most of the dentists seeing your child are actually general dentists. Ask.
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