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Referral to a Pediatric Dentist

Most often than not, parents are not sure when they should first take their children to see the dentist. According to the American Academy Of Pediatric Dentistry, parents should take their child in for a dental examination when the first tooth appears or no later than their child’s first birthday. Most parents however, believe that baby teeth are not that important because the teeth get loose and fall out, right? In other cases parents simply don’t know.


If you live in Southern California, feel free to Schedule a New Patient Visit with us in Zak Dental offices in Agoura Hills, Covina/San Dimas, Downey, Long Beach, North Park, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Simi Valley, Temecula, Valencia, Ventura, and Whittier/La Mirada, California.
For all your dental needs, schedule an appointment by calling the Zak Dental office at 833-ZAK-TEAM


Statistics support a lack in knowledge concerning oral health care in children, by showing on average parents take their children for their first dental visit by age 2. As a result of not starting dental visits early enough, over 42% of children ages 2 to 11 have had cavities in their baby teeth, this according to a 2014 CDC report.

Once a parent does decide to take their child for their first dental visit, the most common question asked is should they take their child to a General dentist or to a Pediatric dentist. There is actually no straight forward answer to that question. In other words, it all depends.

First, if a child has special needs or has displayed fear of a dentist in the past, a Pediatric dentist is better equipped to provide a positive experience for the child. Because let’s face it, Pediatric dentists have two to three extra years of training to deal with the special behavior needs of pediatric patients and pediatrics is geared 100% towards kids.

Second, insurance plans give different guidelines as to what age they will provide coverage for a child to see a specialist like the Pediatric dentist and if an attempt to see the child with a General dentist is requested.

Finally, a consideration must be given as to how well the General dentist is with working with younger patients. All of these aspects must be given careful consideration in order to assure that the best possible care is provided.

The primary goal of this article is not just to answer questions about pediatric referrals, it is also meant to stress the importance of early childhood dental care. The advantage of starting dental visits early is that young patients are introduced to their dental health care early on while exposing them to dental health care professionals and dental procedures. Finally, an all-important advantage is that parents become educated in the oral care of their children thus avoiding many of the common mistakes parents make in the area of their children’s dental health that increase the risk of cavities including:

  • Solo brushing
  • Putting babies to bed with a bottle (sugary drinks)
  • Hydration with sports drinks
  • Not understanding or little knowledge on mouth healthy foods

Starting and understanding the importance of early childhood oral health care is paramount to the overall health of our children.


Here’s a FAQ for a pediatric dentist referral:

When should I take my child to a pediatric dentist for the first time?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child visit a pediatric dentist by their first birthday or within six months after the first tooth erupts.

What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a regular dentist?

Pediatric dentists undergo additional training beyond dental school to specialize in the unique oral health needs of infants, children, and adolescents. They are trained to provide care in a child-friendly environment and to manage the behavioral aspects of children’s dental care.

What services do pediatric dentists offer?

Pediatric dentists offer a wide range of services including preventive care (such as cleanings and fluoride treatments), restorative care (such as fillings and crowns), and management of dental emergencies. They also provide guidance on oral hygiene, diet, and habits like thumb sucking.

What can I expect during my child’s first visit to the pediatric dentist?

During the first visit, the dentist will examine your child’s mouth, teeth, and gums. They may also clean your child’s teeth and apply fluoride. The dentist will discuss oral hygiene practices and answer any questions you may have about your child’s oral health.

How often should my child see the pediatric dentist?

Most pediatric dentists recommend that children visit every six months for regular check-ups and cleanings. However, the frequency of visits may vary depending on your child’s oral health needs.

What can I do to prepare my child for a visit to the pediatric dentist?

You can talk to your child about what to expect during the visit in a positive and reassuring manner. You can also read books or watch videos about going to the dentist. Bringing a favorite toy or comfort item can help your child feel more at ease during the appointment.

What if my child is afraid of going to the dentist?

It’s not uncommon for children to feel anxious about visiting the dentist. Pediatric dentists are trained to help children feel comfortable and relaxed during their appointments. They may use techniques such as tell-show-do, distraction, and positive reinforcement to help your child feel at ease.

Are pediatric dentists trained to work with children with special needs?

Yes, pediatric dentists receive training in providing care to children with special needs, including those with physical, developmental, or cognitive disabilities. They are experienced in adapting their approach to meet the unique needs of each child.

How much does it cost to see a pediatric dentist?

The cost of a visit to the pediatric dentist can vary depending on factors such as location, the specific services provided, and whether you have dental insurance. Many pediatric dental offices accept dental insurance and offer payment plans to help make care more affordable for families.

If you live in Southern California, feel free to Schedule a New Patient Visit with us in Dr. Zak offices.