Pediatric Dentist in Rockville MD

Choosing a dentist for your kids isn't an easy decision. Some parents like the convenience of having a dentist who sees every member of the family, but for many children, a pediatric dentist would be a better choice. Exploring your options and learning the difference between a general/family dentist and a pediatric dentist will help you make the best decision for your family.

Parent talking to child

What does A Pediatric Dentist Do Differently?

Pediatric dentists dedicate themselves to the oral health care of children. They have advanced training and qualifications to care for pediatric patients throughout the various stages of childhood. Pediatric dentists are specialists.

Dentists can choose to specialize in different fields. Some focus on root canals, while others specialize in oral surgery, and a select few choose to work only with children. A pediatric dentist provides oral care for babies, toddlers, kids and young teens.

Pediatric dentists perform treatments that children need to maintain good dental and oral health. The most common treatments they perform include:

  • Dental Checkups
  • Sealants
  • Fillings and Crowns
  • Dental x-rays
  • Fluoride Treatments

Should I take my child to a Pediatric Dentist?

The younger a child is, the more important it is that they see a pediatric specialist. A pediatric dentist and their highly experienced dental team treat kids of all ages with compassion and care. A family dentist is a good option primarily for adolescents who have the patience to be seen in a more adult-oriented dental office setting.

As parents, we know that kids have thoughts and feelings that aren't always predictable. Not every licensed dentist has the patience or desire to work with children, and many kids certainly don't have the willpower to sit still with a general dentist.

Pediatric dentists have additional training beyond dental school to become experts in behavior management. Dr. Ball is a pediatric dentist, educator and practitioner with expertise in children's emotional and developmental needs. She knows how to effectively communicate with kids and has a passion for instilling a positive attitude toward dental visits.

Dr. Ball's children

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What Is The Difference Between a Pediatric Dentist and a General Dentist?

Many general or family dentists see kids and adults alike, but that does not make them pediatric dentists. The main difference between the two is pediatric dental care is purely specialized in oral health for children.

Pediatric dentists must take an additional two to three years of specific training after finishing dental school. They have specialized education in child psychology, which allows them to better communicate and understand children in their dental practice.


Pediatric dentists focus primarily on preventive dental health. They work hard to help you and your child develop good oral habits for the future. However, they are also well equipped to perform necessary treatments, and they typically have specialized equipment and materials that are more child-friendly.

A great pediatric dentist will offer nutrition and diet advice and help parents and kids steer clear of hidden sugars. Your pediatric dentist can get you started with better oral health by telling you which foods to avoid and which to incorporate more. Dr. Ball enjoys having these types of conversations with families, because addressing the root causes of dental decay formation allows parents to have a better understanding of their children's cavity risk and what steps they can take to modify this risk.

A dentist's demeanor is everything when it comes to making kids comfortable during their appointment. Pediatric dentists generally have more patience than your average practitioner and often insert a little bit of silliness into their routines. It all goes toward making the office a fun dental experience.

A pediatric dentist's office is nothing like the typical adult waiting room. Our office is designed with kids in mind. Your children will find toys, books, and cute decorations that they will love. The primary goal is to make the dentist's office an inviting space where kids have fun, so they look forward to their next appointment. We also end every appointment with a prize, which is sure to put a smile on any child's face.

At what age should My child first see a dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that infants be scheduled for their first visit within six months of the eruption of the first primary tooth but by no later than their 1st birthday. 

For first time parents, infant oral care can be overlooked or confusing. Some parents wonder why they should worry about baby teeth, since new permanent teeth will replace them later in childhood. Baby teeth can cause pain and problems, yet most problems are preventable. A pediatric dentist will share valuable preventive information.  

Tooth decay can happen as soon as a child's first tooth grows between 6 and 12 months. Having cavities in baby teeth increases the risk of decay in permanent teeth. If that decay is severe, it can have long-lasting effects on a child's overall health and can be costly to fix.  

If you're searching for a pediatric dentist in the Rockville, Maryland area, you won't find a better option than Shady Grove Pediatric Dentistry. From your child's first baby tooth to their last adult tooth coming in, we have the expertise in treatment options to provide the best care for your child and their smile.

Dr. Ball's children