A pedodontist is a dentist who specializes in caring for the dental needs of children. Pedodontists complete their medical education as dentists, and receive additional training in the specialty of pediatric dentistry so that they can provide the best possible care to their patients. While a child can be taken to a general dentist, just like a child can be taken to a general practitioner for medical care, a child may benefit from the specialized services of a pedodontist, much as some children benefit from seeing pediatricians.
Children have some special dental needs, because they are still growing, and as a result their mouths are actively developing. As children lose baby teeth and develop adult teeth, the care of a pedodontist can ensure that they get to keep their adult teeth for life. Services offered by a pedodontist include routine teeth cleanings, prophylactic care, dental examinations, and recommendations to practitioners who can provide children with orthopedic care if their teeth or jaws appear to be developing abnormally.
Preventative care is a big part of the practice of a pedodontist, as early intervention during dental development can head off a variety of problems, from occlusion issues to cavities. This care can include dental education to help children learn to care for their teeth and gums, along with prophylactic procedures such as sealing the teeth to prevent cavities. Pedodontists work with children from infancy to adolescence, providing dental care as the mouth and teeth develop.
Pedodontists also customize their care to keep children comfortable and happy. Reducing stress in children makes it easier to provide dental care, and it also creates a lifelong comfortable relationship with dentists and dentistry. Since some adults experience fear of the dentist which has been exacerbated by the care they received as children, getting people to accept dentistry is an important part of the practice of a pedodontist, ensuring that children will grow up into adults who regularly seek dental care.
A pedodontist can receive a higher salary than a general dentist, reflecting his or her specialized training. Some work in their own private offices, while others may join a dental practice for children or a family dental practice which offers dental care for people of all ages. Pedodontists can also be part of a pediatrics office, allowing parents to receive complete medical care for their children in one location. Like other dental professionals, pedodontists keep up with advances in the field by attending regular conferences and subscribing to trade publications.