Pediatric dentistry is an important specialty within the field of dentistry, requiring specialized care and attention for the unique needs of children. Becoming a pediatric dentist requires more than just a dental degree: it involves in-depth knowledge and understanding of topics such as child psychology, preventive techniques, and behavior management. In this step-by-step guide, we discuss how to become a pediatric dentist and what additional qualifications are needed to attain a successful career in this field.
Education & Training
The first step towards becoming a pediatric dentist is obtaining an undergraduate degree from an accredited university or college. Most students opt for a four-year bachelor’s program in biology, chemistry, or other science-related fields. Once you complete your undergraduate degree, it’s time to apply for a dental school program. Dental schools have rigorous admissions requirements and require students to take the Dental Admission Test (DAT). After completing an accredited dental school program, you will obtain a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD) degree.
After completing a dental school program, aspiring pediatric dentists must complete a two-year postgraduate residency program in pediatric dentistry. This involves practical training in areas such as infant and adolescent development, behavior management techniques, tooth formation and eruption, nutritional counseling, and trauma management. During the residency, students must also pass both the North East Regional Board of Dental Examiners and the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry exams to become certified by each organization.
Certification & Licensing
Once you have completed your postgraduate training and passed all required exams, you will be eligible for certification by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry (ABPD). This certification is necessary for practicing pediatric dentists in the United States. Additionally, all prospective pediatric dentists must obtain a state license to practice and must complete continuing education courses to maintain their credentials.
Establishing Your Practice
The final step in becoming a pediatric dentist involves establishing your practice. This entails finding a suitable location and obtaining the necessary permits, licenses, and equipment to run a successful business. Additionally, it is important to create an effective marketing strategy to attract potential patients and increase visibility.
Becoming a pediatric dentist requires dedication and hard work, but the rewards are great. With the right education, training, and certification, you can pursue a successful career in this field. Don’t forget to maintain your credentials by getting re-certified every 10 years and completing continuing education courses throughout your career.
You will need to obtain a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD)
It typically takes four years to complete an undergraduate degree, four years for dental school, and two years for postgraduate training.
You need to obtain certification from the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry (ABPD) and a state license to practice.