Does my child really need to see a pediatric dentist? Can he or she just come with me to my dentist? These are common questions parents ask when they are choosing a dentist for their child.

We encourage you to think of a pediatric dentist just like you think of your child’s pediatrician. Like a pediatrician, a pediatric dentist offers specialized, age-based care for your child. Here’s some additional information if you’re trying to decide between a pediatric dentist versus a generalized dentist.

What Makes a Pediatric Dentist Different?

Training – Pediatric dentists complete a two- or three-year residency program after dental school. This residency includes:

  • hospital training
  • working with patients with severe needs
  • courses in child development and behavior management

This training equips them to be experts in providing gentle, comprehensive dental care specifically designed for kids. Dr. Francois completed his residency at the University of Illinois in Chicago, and is board certified and a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

Patients – Unlike a general dentist (who sees patients of all ages), a pediatric dentist sees only patients from infancy through their teen years. Because of their additional training, they also treat special needs patients of all ages and patients who might need to be seen in a hospital setting because of medical or behavioral conditions.

Office Environment – At pediatric dentist offices, you’ll find a kid-centered office environment. For example, here at Pediatric Smiles our office is outer space themed and our lobby is kid friendly. We want to help kids feel at ease from the moment they walk in our door. 

These three factors – additional training, patient focus and a kid-friendly office – combine to make a pediatric dentist uniquely suited to treat kids of all ages, and ensure trips to the dentist are a positive experience.