Most families with young children have considered a pediatrician for health care needs that require age-based specialists, and dentistry is no different. Pediatric dentists fill a vital role in oral medicine; here are some answers to a few questions you may have about them.
Pediatric dentists are professionals who have completed a specialized course of dentistry that caters to children who have special needs or otherwise need gentler care. The program consists of two to three years of further training after graduation from dental school. It includes hospital training, where they work with children who have more severe dental needs and emergencies, and training in numerous orthodontic teeth-straightening methods. Pediatric dentists work closely with pediatricians and general dentists, who refer select patients for this specialized dental treatment that requires this advanced training. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) is an organization of pediatric dentists, and its website has a good selection of brochures explaining their role in dentistry.
Pediatric dentists can treat children from birth to college. If a child has unique developmental issues or needs to be seen in a hospital setting due to another medical condition, a pediatric dentist is uniquely qualified to provide that treatment. Often, children with special needs that persist into adulthood are still seen past the age of 18; their pediatric dentist knows their dental history, as well as the special treatment and procedures needed before and during treatment.