When planning your child’s first dental appointment, you may question whether to take your child to see a pediatric dentist or your general dentist.

Many parents are aware of the benefits of taking your child to a pediatrician instead of a general doctor. Surprisingly, not as many know a pediatric dentist can provide the same kind of specialized care for your child’s smile!

A pediatric dentist is a dental specialist who has chosen to dedicate their practice to the dental health of children from infancy through adolescence. Pediatric dentists complete two to three years of specialty training in addition to their undergraduate and dental degree. In that program, they learn techniques and gain hands-on experience as they prepare to meet the needs of infants, children and adolescents, in addition to persons with special needs.

Here are just a few reasons why your child should see a pediatric dentist.

A Pediatric Dentist Provides Comfort

Pediatric dental clinics generally provide a kid-friendly, comforting atmosphere to help lessen children’s fears of going to the dentist. The office is often decorated and sized with kids in mind. The dentist and staff in a pediatric dental office are typically great at explaining procedures and terms in a way children can understand and feel at ease. Pleasant routine visits to the dentist as a child build confidence that will last a lifetime.

The Dental Office Can Act as a Dental Home

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry supports the concept of a dental home. Children who have a dental home are more likely to receive appropriate preventive and routine oral health care.

Pediatric Dentists Focus on Preventative Care

Pediatric dentists are an important part of your child’s health team as poor oral health leads to decreased school performance, poor social skills, and less success in adult life.

Studies have shown that children with poor oral health were nearly three times more likely to miss school as a result of dental pain. This suggests that improving children's oral health may be a vehicle to enhancing their educational experience.

They Provide Support and Dental Education for Parents

Pediatric dentists educate children and parents on the proper oral care and health specific to children’s primary and secondary teeth. They can also provide tips or counseling for habits such as thumb sucking and pacifier use that can affect the mouth and teeth.

For example, did you know your child should stop using a pacifier around the age of 3? The long-term use of a pacifier influences a child’s mouth shape and alignment of his or her teeth. The upper front teeth can begin to tip forward or become crooked. As a result, bite problems develop and lead to poor tooth position and jaw alignment.

Pediatric Dentists Offer a Wide Range of Services

Pediatric dentists have extensive knowledge in oral care, including health and growth of children’s teeth. They keep current with latest advances in dentistry for children including prevention, early detection and treatment of dental diseases.

The Dentist is Available for Emergency Care

In the time of an emergency, you want to make sure that you have a dentist both you and your child trust. Pediatric dentists can care for dental injuries in children including knocked-out teeth and fractured teeth. They can also quickly identify issues seen only in children. While a family dentist can certainly care for your child’s teeth and help prevent cavities, they cannot provide the same specialized care your child would receive at a pediatric dentist. In the same way that you would take a child to visit a pediatrician, we always recommend taking your child to a pediatric dentist.


If you are unsure about whether or not your child should see a pediatric dentist, the best thing to do is schedule a consultation and see what feels right. Many dentists offer a free consultation to let your child get to know the dentist. Taking the step to get acquainted with the process gives you and your child confidence in the overall dental experience.

Mom and Me Giveaway!

One of the best ways to promote oral health in your little one is by setting a great example. Leap Dental and Little Rock Family want to help make that easy so we're giving away two adult and child sets of Philips Sonicare electric toothbrushes!

The giveaway goes from Feb. 13-19 and two winners will be notified via email after the end of the entry period. 

Just click here to enter!