Pediatric Dentist Career Guide

Overview

Every child may need to go to a specialist who examines and treats oral and teeth related issues. Pediatric dentists come under one of the nine specialties recognized by the American Dental Association. These specialists handle all issues of children related to growth and development, child psychology, disease, outcomes and preventions. Pediatric dentists specialize in dealing with dental issues of children from birth till adolescence. To enter this field and have a fruitful career, one may have to earn a degree along with a license.

Job Duties

Pediatric dentists are highly trained to help children with their teeth, jaw and gum problems by applying pediatric restorative techniques and modalities. They are quite aware of diseases and consequences that could occur, therefore, they work hard to ensure that a child has a clean bill of health. One of their main concerns is tooth decay prevention. For this they encourage children to strengthen their teeth with healthy eating habits. Although their work area is focused on infants, children and teenagers; they might even advise parents on how to develop healthy habits for their children.

A pediatrician also deals with an infant’s primary teeth, which is the first form of teeth that erupt after birth. On development of secondary teeth, they might offer dental services of placing dentures and bridges. They also make use of fluorides and sealants to help prevent decay, treat dentine hypersensitivity and re-mineralize the tooth surface. The handicapped or disabled also have specialized treatment options available.

Career Outlook

It has been reported that pediatric dentists are projected to witness increased employment opportunities in the years to come and around 39,000 dentists would be needed by 2016 (onetcenter.org). The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that the number of dental specialty jobs held in 2011 were 4,850 in number.  Their work areas are dental offices or clinics. They may even be employed in hospitals, typically working 4 to 6 days a week.

Salary Outlook

Average salary estimated by National Salary Trend in 2012 is $193,000 per year.

Education Requirements

To become a Pediatric Dentist, one must first obtain a bachelor’s degree in healthcare followed by graduation from any institute registered by the American Dental Association. Most institutes require students to study courses in biochemistry, English, biology, physics and mathematics at high school level.

Most programs by dental institutes are of four years and degrees of Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.D.M.) or Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) could be earned by students with a background in science. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, students should complete a 2 year postgraduate program to specialize in pediatric dentistry. Courses include child psychology and development whereas training covers areas of child orthodontics, anesthesia, dental caries and child oral trauma.

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