teen at school learns When to switch from pediatric dentist

When does my teen transition from a pediatric dentist to a general dentist?

As your child gets older, you may find yourself wondering if they should still be going to the pediatric dentist. 

When to switch from a pediatric dentist to a family dentist is an important decision in your child’s oral health journey. 

Your Kids Smiles Team has a comprehensive guide just for you! Here’s everything you need to know about the transition from pediatric dentist to family dentist for your child.

What age to stop seeing a pediatric dentist?

Pediatric dentists focus on providing comprehensive dental care for children from birth to adolescence. Your child’s pediatric dentist is their first dental home and helps build the foundation for a lifelong healthy smile!

At Kids Smiles, our patients begin to transition to seeing a family dentist at age 12. (But this can vary based on their unique smile needs!)

What are some signs my child is ready to transition?

How can you tell if your child is ready to make the switch? This is something we’ll discuss with you at your child’s dental check-ups as the time draws near, but there’s a few key indicators that they’re ready such as:

  • They have all their permanent teeth. Most kids have all their permanent teeth between the ages of 12 to 14. Switching to a general dentist at this age is perfect as this is often the age where their wisdom teeth begin to erupt.
  • They’re gaining more independence. By this age, your teen is quite comfortable at voicing their needs and concerns. They may even tell you that they’re “too old” to see a kids dentist! 
  • Their dental needs are growing. While pediatric dentists specialize in caring for little teeth and gums, a general dentist is best suited for your teen as they have more experience in treating a great deal of dental issues that may arise in your child as they grow. 

When to switch from pediatric dentist

Our Kids Smiles Team uses age 12 as the magic number for transitioning out of treatment with a pediatric dentist, but there’s a few instances where parents may consider switching sooner.

Before age 12

Often we begin to work with parents on transitioning their child to a general dentist before age 12 if they voice the concerns that they’re “too old” for a pediatric dentist. 

Keeping your child engaged and positive about their dental experiences is key to motivating them to care properly for their smile. If they feel out of place in our kid-friendly offices with young children and toys, it can negatively impact their confidence and discourage them from coming. 

At age 12

Many parents wait until this age if their teen has special needs, dental anxiety, or is in the middle of specialized treatments. This gives them time to prepare their child for the change and help find the right general dentist for their family. 

Tips for making this transition smooth and simple!

Once our team along with you and your teen come to the conclusion it’s time for your teen to make the switch, it can be a bittersweet experience! We always miss our not-so-little-anymore patients but are so proud of them for taking this big step into taking charge of their dental health.

Here’s what we suggest for parents and teens to make transition easy: 

    • Ask us for general dentist recommendations. Our Kids Smiles Team works closely with many local dental professionals and can give you a list of recommendations.
    • Include your teen in the search for a new dentist. Your teen is making this transition because they want more say in their dental care so we say give it to them! 
    • Ask us to transfer dental records to your teen’s new general dentist. A complete look into your child’s dental health history ensures their dentist understands their unique needs and provides a little thing the medical field likes to call “continuity of care”.
    • Visit your teen’s new dentist together! Your teen may think they’re all grown up but they still need you (especially until their 18th birthday). 

Still have questions about when to switch from pediatric dentist?

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns you may have about your child’s dental health. As your child’s first dental home, we want to make sure your teen is receiving the best possible care for their smile.

Have another little one who just got their first tooth? Schedule an appointment with our pediatric dentist in South Tampa, North Tampa, Town ‘n’ Country or Bradenton today!