Learning more about the many benefits that a pediatric dentist offers is something every parent should consider. While parents can indeed take their kids to see a general dentist or a family dentist, a pediatric dentist is a dental professional who has been specifically trained in how to treat kids. This means they have a…
What Additional Skills Does a Pediatric Dentist Have?
When making a child's first dental appointment, is a pediatric dentist better suited for the job? Even though all dentists receive the same educational foundation through dental school, one who treats children gets further education and training to deal with this unique group of patients. Knowing what skills this provider has may aid in whether a parent chooses to establish with one or not.
Basic dental training
The fundamental requirements for becoming a dentist are pretty universal throughout the United States. According to Doctorly.org, candidates must first seek to get a bachelor's degree in a science-related field, preferably biology or anatomy. Candidates then go on to dental school spending the first two years in the classroom, and the last two doing clinical work. Upon graduating from an accredited program, candidates then take the national board exam. Passing this test is required to obtain a license and become a practicing dentist.
Pediatric dentists and further training
At some point during dental school, some students will decide to pursue a dental specialty. One such specialty is taking care of children's oral health. After passing the licensing exam, these students will enter a residency program specializing in pediatric dentistry. Depending on state laws, the residency training may last anywhere from two to three years. Those who complete this will receive certification as a pediatric dentist.
Additional skills that help care for children
Dealing with children and their unique health needs is not all about education. An individual must have a particular set of qualities that make them more fit than others.
Children are more prone to develop a fear of the dentist. However, the right bedside manner can make all the difference in whether that child will overcome that fear or go on to carry it through adulthood. A good pediatric dentist should have a pleasant and calming demeanor when presenting to children. It is also helpful to be able to communicate on a level that they understand and appreciate.
Any parent can attest to the need for patience when dealing with kids. A children's dentist should also possess a fair amount of reserve and patience. Children may ask repeating questions or flat out refuse to comply with a directive. If a child becomes obstinate or cranky, it may make a dentist's job impossible to perform. Keeping calm and having patience comes in handy.
Think and act quickly
Things may happen during a patient's time in the chair that deviate from the plan. While it is crucial for any dentist to think and act quickly, a children's dentist may have only seconds to decide how to deal with the unexpected. Being able to come up with solutions on the fly and execute them without alarming the patient are helpful when treating children.
Deciding between a regular dentist and a pediatric dentist may come down to preference; however, parents may want to think about the additional skills and training required for pediatrics. Becoming certified to treat children's teeth from infancy through the teen years is something that takes a special kind of provider.
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