There are many different areas of concentration in the field of dentistry and one of them is pediatrics. A pediatric dentist is one who specializes in children 18 years old and under. There are several steps that you need to take before you can get licensed in the state in which you desire to practice.
What makes a pediatric dentist different from a regular dentist? If you specialize in pediatric dentistry, your focus will be diagnosing and treating problems in the teeth and gums of children only. It will also include educating both the parents and the children on how to brush and floss properly as well as helping them learn a proper diet to aid the healthy growth of teeth and maintenance of the gums. You will also be expected to perform and read x-rays, extract teeth, fill any cavities, and train your technicians, assistants, and hygienists.
If you are planning on making pediatric dentistry your career of choice, the first thing you need to do is graduate from high school so that you can move on to an accredited university where you will need to get your Bachelor's degree, which needs to include some pre-dentistry courses. Once you have earned your bachelor's degree you will need to choose a 4-year dental school from which you will need to earn your DDS or DMD. On top of that, you will need to take an extra 2-3 years of schooling, according to the requirements set up by the American Association of Pediatric Dentists. Before you can begin practicing, you will be required to get a license to practice in the state in which you live. It will also be helpful for you to join various professional organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
Skills you'll be required to be able to perform as a pediatric dentist include knowing what the specific needs of children are and being able to work well with them. Without this, you will not be successful in your practice. You will also need to stay on top of the available technology in your field, work well with your hands, be detail oriented, and be able to communicate and work closely with both the children and their parents.
The future of pediatric dentistry is bright as there is expected to be approximately 40,000 openings by 2016, and according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average pediatric dentistry professional earned up of $ 136,000.00 each year.