Career Development

Pediatric Dentist Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More

Pediatric dentists work with children and adolescents. They diagnose and treat dental problems in children, often working closely with pediatricians, general dentists, orthodontists, and other healthcare professionals.

Pediatric dentists work with children and adolescents. They diagnose and treat dental problems in children, often working closely with pediatricians, general dentists, orthodontists, and other healthcare professionals.

Pediatric dentists also provide education about dental health to parents and children. In addition to treating cavities and other common childhood oral health issues, pediatric dentists sometimes help children overcome dental phobias or other emotional issues.

Some pediatric dentists specialize in a particular area of dentistry. For example, pediatric endodontists specialize in root canal treatment for children’s teeth. Pediatric oral surgeons treat oral tumors and other conditions that require surgery. Pediatric periodontists treat gum disease in children.

Pediatric Dentist Job Duties

Pediatric dentists are responsible for the following duties:

  • Screening patients to determine if they meet criteria for dental care, such as age and physical conditions
  • Providing oral health care to children and adolescents with special needs, such as those with physical disabilities, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Conducting dental exams and X-rays to identify any problems with a child’s teeth, gums, or jaw development
  • Determining appropriate treatment options for children with dental problems, including performing examinations, making diagnoses, planning treatment, and recommending follow-up care
  • Performing dental procedures including cleaning teeth, treating cavities, and performing fillings and extractions
  • Evaluating the need for extractions in cases where teeth have been damaged beyond repair or are too near nerves that could be damaged with restoration work
  • Suggesting preventative measures and appropriate use of fluoride applications and other dental products and services to help patients maintain excellent dental health at home

Pediatric Dentist Salary & Outlook

The median annual wage for pediatric dentists is $206,895. The highest earners make over $334,000 per year.

Demand for pediatric dentists is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade. As dental care becomes more popular and insurance companies begin to cover more of their services, more children will be able to receive dental treatment from a pediatric dentist.

Pediatric Dentist Job Requirements

The requirements for a pediatric dentist are as follows:

Education: Candidates must complete a dental degree at an accredited college or university. Most dental programs require students to complete coursework in areas like dental anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, pathology, oral surgery and pediatric dentistry. They also complete clinical training, where they receive hands-on experience at a dental clinic.

Training: After graduating from an accredited dental program, all pediatric dentists must complete a residency training program under the supervision of a licensed dentist. The length of time varies depending on where they are located, but it can last anywhere from one to three years. During this time, dentists gain experience working with patients as they build their knowledge base and skill set.

Certifications: Though requirements vary from state to state, all pediatric dentists must hold a valid license to practice. A certification is not required to become a pediatric dentist, but some dental organizations offer certifications that can help pediatricians improve their skills. They include the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) and the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry (ABPD).

Pediatric Dentist Skills

A pediatric dentist must have the following skills:

Communication skills: A pediatric dentist must be able to communicate effectively with children and their parents.

Organizational skills: It’s crucial for a pediatric dentist to be organized because he or she must schedule appointments, prepare treatment plans, write reports, keep records, and do other administrative tasks.

Patience: Children may not understand why they need dental care or why it’s important to brush and floss regularly. Therefore, patience is essential when explaining procedures to them.

Creativity: A pediatric dentist needs creativity in order to come up with fun ways to teach children about proper dental hygiene. For example, he or she might use puppets to help explain the importance of brushing teeth.

Knowledge of dental procedures: The dentist must have a strong knowledge of dental procedures and dentistry.

Knowledge of child development: Dentists must understand how a child’s teeth and mouth develop over time.

Pediatric Dentist Work Environment

Pediatric dentists spend a lot of time in their offices, but they also tend to be on their feet for much of the day. Their work environment is comfortable and well-lit. Although pediatric dentists may have some pressure to meet deadlines from parents or other family members, the atmosphere is generally relaxed. Pediatric dentists spend most of their time leaning over examination tables, reaching into patients’ mouths with instruments, examining x-rays, and interacting with staff members and patients. 

Most pediatric dentist offices are open weekdays during regular business hours, but they may have evening or weekend hours as well. Some pediatric dentists have flexible schedules so that they can meet with their patients during the day, after school, on weekends, or at night.

Pediatric Dentist Career Advancement

Pediatric dentists can advance in several ways. Some pediatric dentists open their own dental practices. Others may choose to specialize in a particular area of dentistry, such as oral surgery. These are highly specialized areas that require advanced training, so you must have a certain level of experience before an advanced role will be considered.

It is also possible to advance your career by becoming a professor in one of the dental schools in the country. A professor is able to share his or her knowledge on a daily basis with the next generation of dentists. This is a great way to stay close to the field and continue to be a part of the dental world, as well as advance your career.

Pediatric Dentist Trends

Here are three trends influencing how Pediatric Dentists work. Pediatric Dentists will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

Increased Focus on Healthy Habits

Pediatric dentists will need to take an increasingly holistic approach to dental care, as more parents are looking for ways to instill healthy habits in their children from a young age.

For example, kids who brush their teeth regularly and floss regularly tend to have healthier teeth and gums, which can reduce the likelihood of them needing extensive dental work later in life.

Technology to Make Treatments Safer

Many pediatric dentists are turning to new technology to reduce treatment time and improve the quality of care they provide.

Digital imaging allows dentists to capture detailed images of their patients’ teeth that can be used for diagnosis and comparison over time, as well as share with other professionals or parents in a digital format.

In addition, this technology makes it easier for dentists to make a variety of adjustments before any work is done on the patient which can make treatments faster and safer. 

Health Care Cost Pressure

Dental care is becoming increasingly important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. In addition, as health care costs continue to rise, dentists will have to adapt their business models in order to meet the growing demand for affordable dental care.

Today, it is common for dentists to offer financial assistance programs and payment plans that make it easier for patients to access their services at a reasonable price. 

How to Become a Pediatric Dentist

1. Planning Your Career Path

If you are interested in becoming a pediatric dentist, it is important to remember that this career path will require you to have patience. The time spent in school and the years of training necessary for licensure are lengthy, so be sure that you are ready to commit before beginning your journey.

There are many advantages to being a pediatric dentist, including the opportunity to develop long-lasting relationships with patients and their families. If you are looking for work that allows you to interact with people on a personal level, this may be the right fit for you.

The ideal candidate has a passion for the field and a desire to help others. Children require special attention and care when it comes to their teeth. It’s important to have a friendly and outgoing personality as well as technical skill when working with this age group.

2. Writing a Resume

The best resumes for pediatric dentists highlight the professional skills and education that make them an excellent dentist. Be sure to include any certifications you have, as well as your willingness and ability to train and learn new techniques and skills, and explain how these qualities make you a great fit for this position.

Since pediatric dentists must also have an abundance of patience when working with children, focus your resume on expressing your ability to work well under pressure and with difficult personalities. In order to show that you are capable of handling stressful situations, include any examples from your past jobs that demonstrate how effectively you were able to maintain control when things got out of hand. 

3. Applying for Jobs

Pediatric dentists need to gain experience through shadowing, internships, and volunteer work. During these periods, it is important to build relationships with the team at the dental office. This will help you network and learn about the ins and outs of the job. It can also lead to a job offer after a few years of practicing on a volunteer/intern basis. It can also be helpful to join professional organizations related to pediatric dentistry; these organizations will offer further networking opportunities.

4. Ace the Interview

When interviewing for a pediatric dentist position, your goal is to convey that you have the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in this position. It’s important to be flexible and willing to work with other dentists, patients, and parents. Be sure to highlight how you can meet the needs of patients and their families in an efficient, personable way.

When asked about your qualifications, provide specific examples that illustrate your ability to do the job. For example, tell stories about when you used a specific technique to diagnose a patient, or made a younger child feel at ease with a dental procedure.

Dress professionally and arrive on time for an interview. Try to maintain good posture and eye contact with the interviewer throughout the meeting, and smile whenever possible. Finally, follow up with a thank-you note that reiterates your interest in working at this particular practice.


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