There are now over 108,600 dentists employed in the US. However, not every dentist specializes in treating children. Before your child’s next appointment, make sure to find a pediatric dentist in Elizabethtown.

Choosing dentistry for children ensures your child receives the proper care.

What’s the difference between a general and a pediatric dentist? Read on to find out.

After reviewing this guide, you can find an Elizabethtown pediatric dentist knowing it’s the right choice for your child. Discover the difference today!

Education and Training

Both general and pediatric dentists first need to earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. Then, they can apply to and attend dental school. All dentists, including pediatric dentists, have a basic understanding of general dentistry.

Your pediatric dentist’s extensive knowledge can set your child up for a stunning, healthy smile into adulthood.

After school, each dentist can choose to pursue a specialty or start their residency.

Pediatric dentists are required to train, study, and complete a two or three year program specific to pediatric dentistry. These programs ensure they develop the skills to treat kids. Pediatric dentists have extensive knowledge about oral health problems specific to children.

These include:

  • Tongue thrusting
  • Shark teeth
  • Baby and adult tooth development
  • Tooth decay
  • Fluorosis

Make sure to visit your Elizabethtown kid’s dentist before your child’s first birthday. Your child’s first appointment gives the dentist a chance to review their current development. Your dentist might schedule X-rays if your child is old enough.

Dental X-rays allow them to track how your child’s teeth are developing.

During your child’s first appointment, discuss any habits your child has (such as thumb-sucking). The dentist can provide tips to help you prioritize and improve your child’s oral health.

A general dentist, on the other hand, might lack the training and expertise to help you with these problems.

Ortho Pre-Assessment

During check-ups, pediatric dentists often include orthodontic pre-assessments during exams. They might also offer minor orthodontic intervention. Straightening your child’s teeth while they’re still young could prove more effective than when they’re older.

After all, your child’s jaw and teeth are still developing.

For most patients, treatment with braces begins between the ages of nine and 14.

General dentists, however, usually refer patients out to an orthodontist for treatment.


In addition to specific training and education, pediatric dentists also have hands-on experience treating children. That prior experience makes them better equipped at putting children at ease. An experienced pediatric dentist will know how to speak with and act around your child.

They can use that prior experience treating children to help your child feel more comfortable.

Ensuring your child is comfortable can also help them remain calm during appointments.

For example, pediatric dentists know how to talk to young patients. They also know how to educate children about their oral health. Your child might feel more inclined to follow a dentist’s instructions.

Office Environment

Visiting an Elizabethtown pediatric dentist can help your child feel more comfortable in a kid-friendly environment. A kid-friendly office and staff can help your child feel at home. For example, many pediatric clinics feature bright colors, decor, and goofy characters to engage your child.

A general dentist’s practice, on the other hand, might appear cold and sterile. Such an environment could make your child’s dental anxiety worse.

If your child struggles with dental anxiety, they might not receive a thorough assessment during appointments.

The entire staff at Elizabethtown dentistry for children understands the importance of putting your child at ease. For example, they can provide your children with music or kid-friendly shows to watch during an appointment. Wearing headphones during a cleaning can drown out the sound of a scary drill or other pieces of equipment.


Pediatric dentists work with children of all ages. As a result, they often keep kid-friendly tools on hand.

At a general dentist’s practice, the dentist might not have equipment that’s suited for children available. For example, the dental appliances they use might be too big for your child’s mouth. The wrong appliances and equipment could unintentionally cause your child discomfort.


Pediatric dentists also offer a range of services specific to children.

For example, you can schedule a routine check-up and cleaning every six months. Visiting your pediatric dentist every six months will allow the dentist to check for problems. If they notice early signs of cavity formation, they can reverse it right away.

Other services include preventive care, early orthodontic assessment and treatment, and tooth repair. Visiting a single dentist for your child’s oral health needs can help them feel more comfortable.

General dentists offer preventive, restorative, and cosmetic care.

Finding a Dentist

When searching for a kids’ dentist in Elizabethtown, KY, turn to local parents first. Ask if they can recommend an Elizabethtown pediatric dentist. If they can, ask about their child’s experience during appointments.

For example, was the child comfortable with the staff and dentist? Ask the parent if they experienced problems with billing or scheduling.

Learn more about the services each dentist offers as well.

Don’t forget to check their credentials. Look for a dentist who graduated from an accredited institution. Determine if they continued their education to keep up with new technologies and techniques.

Schedule a consultation appointment with two or three local dentists to meet them in person. Ask questions about your child’s oral health care needs.

Determine if the clinic accepts your dental insurance before making any final decisions.

Visit Your Pediatric Dentist in Elizabethtown Today

To recap, what’s the difference between a general and a pediatric dentist? Taking your child to a pediatric dentist in Elizabethtown will ensure they’re receiving the proper care. Pediatric dentists have a better understanding of child development and behavior.

Their offices are more kid-friendly, which can help put your child at ease during appointments.

Schedule an appointment at your kids’ dentist in Elizabethtown, KY today.

Ready to schedule your child’s next check-up? We can’t wait to see you!

Contact our office today to get started.