There are two pediatric clinics in our area. One has a great reputation but is expensive. The other is cheaper and where all the low-income families go (we’re low-income ourselves), but has a horrible reputation and I don’t know a child who likes it. I don’t want to send my son there. Would a general dentist be less expensive? Do they take children?

Bea C.

Dear Bea,

Four Smiling Children
Finding Affordable Pediatric Dental Care

We want the absolute best for our children. Few things are more discouraging than when we can’t afford it. However, being low-income doesn’t mean you can’t find affordable dental care, even pediatric care. Let me answer your two questions separately.

Are General Dentists More Affordable than Pediatric Dentists?

It depends. Each dentist determines his or her price independently. You may have some specialists which are significantly more expensive than your average general dentist. At the same time, you could have some who want to keep their prices down so affordable speciality care is available.

As you don’t have many options when it comes to pediatric care in your area, you have a couple of options. You may want to talk to the good pediatric clinic to see if they have affordable payment plans. Even if they don’t have in-office plans (like Dr. Roper does), many are willing to work with Care Credit, which is a medical card that offers low and even no-interest payment plans.

Do General Dentists See Children?

Again, it depends on the dentist. There are general dentists who enjoy working with children. They’re qualified to treat them and even had to do a pediatric rotation during their training. If ever something came up that required more of a specialist, they could give you a referral.

I’d start by talking to your dentist. It’s always convenient for the whole family to attend the same pediatric clinic together. There’s a medical advantage as well. The dentist will have a fuller picture of what your child’s genetic leanings will be when it comes to oral health.

If mom and dad are prone to decay even with good oral care, the dentist will know to keep a closer eye on the children’s teeth, which tend change quickly so they don’t end up with sudden large decay which could have been dealt with sooner.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Matt Roper.