What is a Pediatric Dentist?
Article by Dr. Kelly Lewis, DDS, Board Certified Pediatric Dentist and owner of Terrific Teeth Pediatric Dentistry in Robinson
Many people ask “What is a pediatric dentist, or pedodontist, and why are my child’s baby teeth important?”
First, what is a pediatric dentist? After graduating college, someone interested in becoming a dentist gains entry into dental school, which is a four-year accredited graduate program. The first two years of dental school look similar to medical school – lots of time in a classroom and the second two years is additional class plus time treating patients in the clinic.
Fun Fact: according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) in 2015, 100% of pedodontists are dentists, but only 3.3% of dentists are pedodontist (also known as pediatric dentists)!
After dental school, many dentists choose one of three routes: proceed directly into practice; a year or more of additional training in a “General Practice Residency” or GPR, or years of additional training as a specialist. Enter ‘Pediatric Dentist’!
A pediatric dentist undergoes a minimum of two additional years of training after dental school. In those years, a pediatric dental resident receives training in providing dental care for infants, children and special needs adults. This training includes a focus on making dentistry relatable to children, prevention and the growth and development of the teeth and entire mouth.
A pediatric dentist uses a broad range of treatment techniques as needed to safely and effectively treat patients. Such techniques include behavior guidance, sedation, pharmacological management and even hospital dentistry. Pediatric dentists apply this range of unique skills to the ever-changing individual needs of one’s child.