Pediatric dentists are a special type of dentist. Their training is limited to children from ages three to fourteen years. It is their job to diagnose, treat and prevent various dental conditions that affect the young people of this age group. Some of the common oral problems that they deal with include cavities, growth deficiencies, malocclusion and dry mouth. They can also perform specialized treatments for dental plaque and periodontal disease.
Pediatric dentists often prefer to use smaller tools and implements in treating children. For instance, they will commonly use pediatric dentist scissors rather than a big pair of scissors used by adult dentists. In addition, they do not use anesthesia as much because they are dealing with children. This is especially true since anesthesia is only used when dental procedures are very painful or if there is a lot of swelling. In fact, pediatric dentists often treat a wide variety of dental diseases using non-surgical methods.
A typical day of work for a pediatric dentist consists of x-rays, root canals, teeth cleaning and crowns. X-rays help identify fractures and other facial damage. Root canals remove deposits and dead cells from the roots of the teeth. Tooth crowns are put on broken teeth to restore their appearance. Tooth extraction occurs when the roots of the teeth have become damaged and can no longer support the jaw. A general dentist does not need to do any of these procedures unless there is something physically wrong with the child.
Children are not the only patients of pediatric dentists. He or she treats all types of patients, including the family dentist. Sometimes a family dentist sees children as a routine patient, while other times he or she may take them on as emergency patients. It really all depends on how busy a pediatric dentist’s schedule is.
Children sometimes experience dental problems such as enamel decay and oral malocclusion (or grinding of the teeth). These conditions often require the assistance of a pediatric dentist. If a child has broken teeth or if there is pain in the mouth from tooth grinding, the dentist may order dental x-rays to find out what is causing the problem. If the condition is found to be dental in nature, treatment will likely be given to take care of the problem. However, if it is not a dental problem and is caused by something else, a pediatric dentist may recommend treatment to prevent further damage to the mouth.
In most areas, a pediatric dentist must attend a dental school before working professionally. He or she must pass an exam that certifies him or her as a competent and skilled pediatric dentist. He or she will also need to undergo a practical training program and complete one or two internships in a dental office before being able to work in a private practice. Private practices are usually less expensive than a full time residency in a dental school.