What’s the Difference Between a Pediatric Dentist and a Regular Dentist?

What’s the difference between a pediatric dentist and a regular dentist? 

Like a pediatrician, a pediatric dentist specializes in the special needs of kids. Following dental school, they receive two to three years of extra specialized training, working with kids, and their unique needs. During this time, they learn the best methods of care for:

  • infants
  • children
  • teens
  • children with special needs


Also, your pediatric dentist can handle all dental care for kids, from routine to emergencies. Often, they work closely with pediatricians and general dentists who may refer patients to them.

Sometimes, a general dentist is comfortable working with small kids. However, a pediatric dentist is uniquely qualified to handle their unique needs, including behavioral challenges and childhood stages.

From Birth to Teens into Adulthood

From the time kids are born to the time they leave for college, a pediatric dentist continues to provide care. Sometimes, kids with special needs may continue to benefit from seeing a pediatric dentist as they become adults. The doctor knows their unique medical history and can provide the ongoing specialized treatment they require.

At Smiles in Framingham, we are unique in that Dr. Deborah A. Himelhoch, DDS MS, MMSc, is board-certified with over 37 years of experience as a pediatric dentist and orthodontist. Thus, your whole family can enjoy the best care in one family-friendly, comfortable location.

Making Your First Experiences The Best Possible

Often, kids can be nervous about dental care. By choosing a pediatric dentist, you choose an expert on making the experience a positive one. Pediatric dentists know how to work with kids in a reassuring, positive, and calming manner. Should a problem arise, they are uniquely skilled at how to resolve issues quickly.

At Smiles in Framingham, your first experiences at the dentist can go smoothly. Rather than something to be anxious about, your visit can be educational, rewarding, and even fun. Dr. Himelhoch and our caring, experienced team focus on making your experience the best possible in an environment designed with kids in mind.

As we know, good first impressions are critical. By choosing a pediatric dentist, you can get off to the best possible start.

Creating a Foundation of Better Oral Health for Life

As kids lose their baby teeth and their permanent teeth come in, it’s essential to get off to the best start. Your pediatric dentist can ensure oral health is optimal and prevent problems before they can start. Thus, your child can get the best chance for a lifetime of better health and beautiful smiles.

From the age of one, a pediatric dentist can help your child avoid cavities, gum disease, and a wide range of oral health issues. By scheduling your first appointment around the first birthday, you can avoid problems. As you continue to schedule checkups, you encourage better habits that can lead to adulthood.

At Smiles in Framingham, we always focus on making sure your visits are positive, educational, and comfortable experiences. Thus, rather than dreading a visit to the dentist, it becomes something to be proud of as you take care of your family. That’s one reason why we often see multiple generations of families in the Framingham area.

See more in our recent blogs: Teeth Brushing Tips for Kids and Kids’ Dental Care During Covid-19.

Contact us here to schedule a visit.

Call us anytime at 508-872-0555. 

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Dr. Himelhoch is trained and experienced in providing care for both pediatric and adult orthodontic problems to the residents of Framingham, MA. Also, we’re proud to serve Southborough, Ashland, Wayland, Natick, Marlborough, Hopkinton, Holliston, and the surrounding areas.


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To all my wonderful patients and their families:


The greatest pleasures of my career are watching children grow strong and healthy and seeing smiles become more beautiful. It has been a tremendous privilege to be a part of that growth and transformation. Now, however, it is time for me to slow down and share the care of my patients.


Starting in September 2022, Smiles in Framingham will merge with Moynihan Dental Specialists. I will remain with the practice, but will reduce my hours and give up administrative responsibilities. The wonderful team of people you and I have come to rely on will be staying. They will continue to help care for you. There will also be new faces, new people who will get to know and care for and about you.


Dr. Michael Moynihan is a second generation dentist and orthodontist practicing in Framingham. Dr. Mike, as he is known, is on the faculty of Boston University in the department of orthodontics. We spent two years as teaching partners supervising the Boston University orthodontic residents as they treated special needs children at Franciscan Hospital for Children. It was during that time I came to appreciate both how skilled Dr. Mike is and how much he cares about his patients. I retired from teaching prior to the pandemic, but Dr. Mike still puts much of his time and energy into teaching the next generation of orthodontists.


I met Dr. Daniel Moynihan when he was my student in 2017. Even at that time he was one of my most conscientious students. He cares deeply about all of his patients and I am proud to be associated with him. Dr. Dan is highly skilled with all aspects of orthodontics, including treatment using Invisalign and other aligners.


Dr. Katherine Moynihan and Dr. Christine Chiao are other members of the Moynihan team. Dr. Katherine Moynihan finished her orthodontic training at Boston University in 2021. Dr. Christine Chiao is a pediatric dentist, who also teaches at the Boston University School of Dental Medicine.


Life is an adventure with many chapters, twists, and turns. I enter this chapter of my life looking forward to what comes next and feeling some sadness that this phase of my life is changing. For now, we will be keeping all appointments as scheduled. We will contact you individually about any appointment changes. All orthodontic contracts will be honored with care provided by the orthodontists. I have every confidence that the doctors of Moynihan Dental Specialists will provide you with excellent care for many years to come.


My very best wishes to all of you,


Dr. Deborah Himelhoch