In the search for finding the right dental career, you will be interested in finding out How to Become a Pediatric Dentist. The pediatric dentist is a specialist dentist who treats children through to adolescents. Their primary role is to provide dental care for infants, children and adolescents.
This may mean creating space maintainers for their patients, as well as treating the primary teeth and later the secondary teeth. Sometimes patients need bridges or appliances for their arches so they will grow correctly.
Much of their work is preventative, teaching patients and their parents how to care for growing teeth, using fluorides and sealants.
How to Become a Pediatric Dentist
The steps below will outline not only how to become a pediatric dentist, but also whether it is the right career for you.
The Role of The Pediatric Dentist – Why Become a Pediatric Dentist
Once the child’s first baby tooth falls out and his permanent one grows in, others will follow suit. The pediatric dentist will continue overseeing your child’s dental care throughout adolescence.
Oral decay is a huge cause for concern throughout childhood and leads to a lot of pain and dental work. In fact, it is cited as the number one chronic ailment of childhood, above hay fever and colds.
Cleaning the teeth of a child is very difficult. Their mouths are smaller, as are their teeth. Plus, they rarely possess the wherewithal to clean their own teeth, their parents have to do it for them. This is one of the reasons that tooth decay and bacterial growth is more common in childhood.
Pediatric Dentist Salary
A major deciding factor you may come across in your discovery on how to become a pediatric dentist is the salary. The pediatric dentist salary figures make it very attractive at first glance. After all, the average salary is about $170,000 annually, but some earn as much as $400,000 a year.
But dentists in this specialty invest eleven years of their lives to school. First there is their bachelor’s degree, then dental school, acquiring the qualifications for being a dentist. Then there is a residency afterward to specialize in pediatric dentistry.
Pediatric Dentist Education – How to Become a Pediatric Dentist
The first step on how to become a pediatric dentist starts at high school. Before prospective pediatric dentists even begin college, they spend their high school year bearing down in science and math classes. Higher level biology, chemistry, and physics are staples on their transcripts. Upper-level math courses are important as well. If their school offers Latin, they probably took it.
Spanish may have been another ‘elective’ since many patients speak Spanish as a first language. Those who knew early this is the path they wanted to take, probably took psychology and sociology in high school along with a business course.
A 3.5 GPA got them into a good liberal arts college, where they continued to focus on upper-level math and science courses.
Choosing Your Major
The next foundation on how to become a pediatric dentist is at collage. Future pediatric dentists can major in whatever they would like to. But they must have organic and inorganic chemistry. Bio-chemistry, physics, and calculus are also required. They probably find the time to take business, sociology, psychology, and sculpting—for the dexterity—as well.
They have to maintain high grades to get into dental school. Everything they do in their undergrad is focused on getting into dental school.
But first they have to take the DAT (Dental Admission Test), which is brutal. This tests measures their scientific knowledge, their ability to read and interpret higher level math used in scientific studies, and their perceptual ability. Its reading comprehension sections are no joke either.
Pediatric Dentist Schooling – Applying to Dental Schools
Once they get their DAT scores, they will begin applying to dental schools. They may have their hearts set on some of the top schools in the country, like:
- University of Florida at Gainesville
- Ohio State University
- University of Illinois at Urbana
- Central Michigan University
- University of Louisville
- University of Iowa
- University of Massachusetts
- Widener University
- University of Nebraska
At these schools, they receive their training to become a dentist (How do I Become a Dentist). Their ability to get in to these universities, and thus how to become a pediatric dentist, hinges on their DAT scores.
Pediatric dentist requirements outline that they must then finish dental school and becoming dentist, take the National Board Dental Exam (NBDE) Part I and II.
Next, they apply to a residency program. They may hope to get into University of Louisville, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Florida, or the University of Iowa.
But spots are limited. Only a few candidates are chosen each year for any specific institution.
So your child’s pediatric dentist, on his journey on how to become a pediatric dentist, was a top-notch student just to make it into the field. Infant, children, and adolescent dental care is important since it sets the tone for their dental health throughout their lives.
Pediatric dentists have the expertise and background to enable them to provide specialized care for children and set them up for quality dental health for life.
These steps outlined on how to become a pediatric dentist should inspire you to investigate this career option further.