Pediatric dentists specialize in supporting children with their oral health needs. Being certified in pediatric dentistry is distinct from practicing as a general dentist who sees children as patients.
Although general dentists can operate on children, pediatric dentists are expected to receive post-dental school education that focuses on adjusting to children’s general dental procedures. Therefore, this role requires very specific education within the field of dentistry.
As with other dental procedures, pediatric dentistry focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of dental problems and the preservation of the dental health of patients. However, pediatric dentists practice on children exclusively. To learn more about this profession, continue reading below.
Pediatric dentists earn around $300,000 a year according to Glassdoor. Their jobs include teaching patients and their parents about the correct technique of brushing and flossing and about food choices that enhance the dental condition.
Additional routine duties for pediatric dentists may include checking x-rays for tooth decay, providing orders to dental hygienists and assistants, performing tooth extractions, and filling cavities.
Every year, millions of people who live in the US refuse to receive dental examinations for one reason — an overwhelming apprehension that was been formed early in life. The first experience they had with oral health was, for many of these people, losing a tooth or their first trip to the dentist. Unfortunately, many of these experiences were unpleasant.
As pediatric dentists are considered highly trained and are exceptionally compassionate practitioners whose job is to work with young patients. The professional and the educational journey can be complicated and challenging to follow for those who have dreams of learning how to become a pediatric dentist.
A child dentist, or pedodontist, is a dental surgeon specializing in treating young children. A pediatric dentist, as governed by the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry, is a certified DDS or DDM who has undergone advanced residency training.
To ensure patients are as relaxed as possible during their regular or emergency dental appointments, these specialists concentrate on treating child patients (infants to early teen years) in a comfortable and sometimes calming way.
A pediatric dentist is specially qualified to understand the biological development of teeth from birth to puberty. They also have specific techniques that allow them to provide comprehensive care that will direct young patients to have good lifelong oral health habits.
How to Get Started
If you’re interested in pediatric dentistry, you have to love kids. In addition to that, you must be prepared for years of general and specialization preparation.
You Must Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
All dentists must first receive a baccalaureate degree. While there is no need for a particular degree. However, it is advantageous to demonstrate fluency in coursework focusing on biology, chemistry, physics, etc.
Pass the Dental Admissions Test
You must pass the DAT to apply to a dental school. Plan to take this test during your undergraduate years. You must earn a DDS or DMD from an accredited dental school once you have completed your bachelor’s degree.
Complete a Residency in Pediatric Dentistry
You will need to complete a pediatric dental residency program to pursue a pediatric dental specialty. This will include classes such as orthodontics for babies, oral healthcare for infants, and even learning and psychology for babies.
Get a National License
To get a general license, all dentists must pass both parts of the National Board Dental Examination.
Have a Pediatric Dentistry License
Completing your pediatric dental residency program will prepare you for a pediatric dentistry license. Based on where you choose to work, you might need to complete State-level specialization tests.
Career Overlook for Pediatric Dentists
Pediatric Dentists‘ career opportunities are very comprehensive. Since the Pediatric Dental Association only has 7,000-plus members in the United States, the market is very competitive. However, as older dentists contemplate retirement, trained Diplomats in Pediatric Dentistry will still be expected to fill those vacancies.
Usually, Pediatric Dentists’ career opportunities fall into three areas, which are the following. Private practice (either working with existing dental groups or opening up a new method), Public Clinics (the introduction of the Affordable Care Act has seen rapid growth in new publicly funded dental clinics — particularly pediatric ones), and Private Research or Academy (working with laboratories to develop pediatric dental products or becoming teachers in dental schools)
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If you are interested in pursuing a career in dentistry and also have a love for kids, this may be the perfect position for you. Start looking into how you can become a pediatric dentist today! You will need to start budgeting for many years of school.