Pediatric dentists fill a vital role in oral medicine with their dedication, knowledge and experience that is required to care for the oral health of children. Most families with young children go to a pediatrician for health care needs that require age-based specialists, and dentistry is no different. Pediatric dentists examine and treat children in targeted ways that make them comfortable.
Children begin to get their baby teeth during the first 6 months of life. Therefore, without proper dental care, children face possible oral decay and disease that can cause a lifetime of pain and complications. In fact, early childhood dental caries—an infectious disease—is 5 times more common in children than asthma and 7 times more common than hay fever, which highlights the importance of pediatric dental care.
Pediatric dentists have completed a specialized course of dentistry that caters to all types of children. At minimum, Pediatric dentists have completed four years of dental school and two additional years of residency training in dentistry for infants, children, teens and children with special needs.
Additionally, the program consists of two to three years of further training after graduation from dental school. This includes hospital training, where they work with children who have more severe dental needs and emergencies, as well as training in numerous orthodontic teeth-straightening methods.
Once in practice, pediatric dentists work closely with pediatricians and general dentists, who refer select patients to pediatric dentists because of the specialized dental treatments these pediatric experts offer.
For more information on pediatric dentist’s role, visit The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) website.
Pediatric dentists provide comprehensive oral health care that includes the following:
While general dentists are trained in pediatric dentistry in dental school, and are predominantly taught by pediatric specialists on staff. Pediatric dentists practice better techniques for children and are more comfortable than others in treating children. Pediatric dentists are more familiar with common behavioral conditions that need to be addressed during a child’s treatment
Pediatric dentistry is subjective to the practice; if a general dentist is not comfortable treating a young or special needs child, a referral will likely be made. You can search for one near you through the AADP.
Prevention and treatment are the primary focus areas of pediatric dentists, along with educating parents and other dental professionals on how best to treat their children.
Pediatric dentists working in dental schools and hospital training facilities also conduct research to develop better methods of preventing oral health problems in children.
Ultimately, however, a pediatric dentist can help you work towards the shared goal of ensuring a lifetime of healthy smiles for your children.