One important and respected specialty many dentists aspire to after completion of their dental degree is pediatric dentistry. This is a dentist that has completed an additional two to three years of residency training in addition to the four years of training in general dentistry that all dentists receive. While completing their residency, pediatric dentists learn to manage the dental treatment of children of all ages. This training includes working with children who are physically or mentally challenged.
There are about 80 residency programs for pediatric dentistry available throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada. These programs provide training to anywhere from one to 10 residents on an annual basis. The competition for entrance into these programs can be very competitive and it is no easy task for a dentist to secure a place in a pediatric dentistry residency program following dental school graduation.
Once a dental graduate is successful at gaining entry into a pediatric dentistry residency program, he or she can expect to spend many hours both in academic study and receiving hands-on training in a clinic. A major area of study in these residency programs is child psychology and methodologies to manage children in a clinic setting.
Other training includes:
- Pharmacology for children
- Caring for special needs patients
- trauma care for facial and oral injuries
- General anesthesia
The completion of this training will earn the dentist a pediatric dentistry certificate.
Benefit to Children
Children of all ages will benefit when parents choose a pediatric dentist. A pediatric dentist will possess the knowledge and experience to deal with the added complexity caused by a child’s ongoing oral development. This is especially important as a child transitions from his or her first set of baby teeth to the teeth they will use for the rest of their lives.
Regular check-ups with a pediatric dentist are geared towards the unique needs of young patients. The office of a pediatric dentist itself is often designed to calm any fear or nervousness a child may feel at the thought of a dentist visit. You will likely notice that the size of the chairs, to the pictures on the walls, to the toys present in the waiting room was designed with the thought of children in mind.
If your child needs preventative care or possesses a dental problem that needs to be addressed, pediatric dentists are trained to deal with what may represent the biggest challenge so far to a child’s young life. This additional training gives pediatric dentist permission to use general anesthesia on children when in a dental office. A pediatric dentist is also permitted to use a sedative on children but only in a hospital setting.
The extra training, practice, and knowledge a pediatric dentist possesses in regards to the mouths of developing children make them the perfect choice to deal with the dental needs of your child.
Parents who are concerned about the dental needs of their children can ensure a great experience at the dentist for both themselves and their children by turning to a pediatric dentist to perform any work that is needed.