Going to the dentist for the first time can be a scary experience for a child. Although the dentist’s office is certain to have magazines and toys for kids, a stranger is going to touch the inside of the child’s mouth with tools and that can seem frightening. Fortunately, pediatric dentists and their assistants go through special training to ensure the safety and comfort of their patients. Both pediatric dentists and periodontist treat their patients from infancy until they are in their late teens. Some pediatric dentists will even treat special needs adults.
What Kind of Training Does a Pediatric Dentist Undergo?
In order to practice pediatric dentistry, a person must begin by obtaining a bachelor’s degree. Most future dentists will get their undergraduate degrees in biology or chemistry. In their junior or senior year of college, they will take the Dental Admissions Test. If they get into a dental school they will then work to obtain a Doctorate of Dental Surgery or a Doctorate of Dental Medicine. Although they have different names, the two degrees require the same training, the school they attend determines the name of the degree they will obtain. They will then have to complete a pediatric residency where they will learn about oral infant health care and adolescent orthodontics. In the state of North Carolina, they will be required to take several classes specific to pediatric dentistry.
After completing a residency, the aspiring doctor will have to pass the National Board Dental Examination. They may also volunteer to take an exam administered by The American Board of Pediatric Dentistry.
Once they are educated, licensed and practicing, a pediatric dentist will have to take several continuing education classes every two years to keep their skills sharp and up to date.
What Kind of Treatments do Pediatric Dentists Offer?
A pediatric dentist can provide services such as cleaning, crowns, fillings, and root canals, just like a regular dentist. There are also some special services they provide.
Sometimes a child will lose their baby teeth too early and that can cause teeth on either side of the lost tooth to grow into the empty space. A pediatric dentist can put in a space maintainer in the area until the adult tooth begins to grow. Sealants are often used in pediatric dentistry to prevent tooth decay. A pediatric dentist may employ early orthodontic care to help prevent crowded or crooked teeth.
What to Look for in a Pediatric Dentist
A good pediatric dentist will not only have the technical skills, licensing and training to treat a patient, but they will also know how to talk to a child and answer the child’s questions in a way they can understand. A hygienist in a pediatric dentist’s office will be an expert at providing comfort to nervous children and their parents when they go in for a dental visit.
Be sure to Google potential dentists for reviews and make sure they are in good standing with the state dental board. Don’t be shy about asking your child’s dentist about their training, background and years of experience. If you are in the Charlotte, North Carolina area, you should click here for more information.