There are many specialties within the dental profession. A pedodontist is one such specialty; this type of doctor works solely with children and is dedicated to attending to their particular -- and various -- dental needs. In the recent past, a pedodontist has alternately been referred to as a pediatric dentist.
A pedodontist cares for children from birth through adolescence and performs all aspects of dentistry, including filling cavities, performing a tooth extraction, gum disease treatment, tooth disease diagnoses and treatment, preventive dentistry and dental maintenance.
Depending on a child's particular needs, the pedodontist may work as part of a team that holistically treats a child. In treating a child, the pedodontist includes the parents as much as he or she is able to, encouraging the parent to become an integral part in the decision-making process that affects the health of his or her child.
Pedodontists & Your Child
Pedodontists are trained to treat the teeth of youngsters, but more importantly, they are also schooled in child development; this means that the pedodontist is equipped to address the special needs of children as a whole and also those children with special needs. Simply put, a pedodontist has the finesse to treat children, something which may be lacking in those dental practices not focused completely on children.
A dentist who specializes in the dental treatment of youngsters may be the best bet both for children who need extensive dental care and those children who may require more care than the average child. Regardless of the extent of a child's needs, however, a pedodontist is the dental equivalent to a pediatrician. While many dentists advertise as family practitioners, the pedodontist works only on children and is singularly skilled in this way.
Those parents who find themselves fighting an uphill battle to get their little ones in the dental chair may greatly benefit from a dentist who is well-acquainted with the very common fear of dentists. A skilled pedodontist can work with a child to allay feelings of fear and dread. Similarly, a pedodontist may work with a child's parents, providing "training" that helps them to help their children overcome dental anxiety.
Whether or not a child needs special handling when it comes to braving a dentist appointment, a pedodontist still works with the parents as well as the child. Pedodontists help parents understand their part in the dental health of their children. These doctors thoroughly discuss many aspects of total well-being; topics range from oral hygiene to nutrition. Pedodontists also make a point of reinforcing the importance of regular dental visits, which are imperative for a solid dental foundation that ultimately aids a child in his or her transition to adulthood.
Career Requirements for a Pedodontist
A pedodontist requires the same training as any other dentist. This training includes either a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree. Beyond the standard dental training, a pedodontist undergoes special training in the area of pediatric dentistry. The length of a program varies and upon completion, the pedodontist may receive a PhD or a Master of Science in Pedodontics. In lieu of a doctorate or master’s program, a pedodontist may receive a certificate. The type of accreditation received depends on the course of study and is not necessarily indicative of a pedodontist's skill level. While a high-level degree can be an initial draw in choosing a pedodontist, what's ultimately most important is the quality of the doctor's work and the care they put into making your child feel safe and comfortable.