Getting regular dental care and making a visit to an orthodontist when you need to are great ways to make sure that your teeth stay healthy and in good condition. With millions of people having braces, the majority of them being children, pediatric orthodontists stay busy!
In order to be up to the task of taking care of our young one’s teeth, pediatric orthodontists have to go through a rigorous set of schooling and training. Ideally, they’ll have focused on science classes while in high school and then carry on that focus while pursuing a bachelor’s degree. From here, things are only just getting started and in order for one to become a competent pediatric orthodontist, one that you’d trust to work on your child’s teeth, much more schooling and training is required.
To give you a better idea of what all goes into the process of training to become a pediatric orthodontist, we’ve briefly detailed what they do and what the process is to become a practicing orthodontist.
What Is a Pediatric Orthodontist?
A common question we get is “What is a pediatric orthodontist?” To answer your question, a pediatric orthodontist is a specialist in dentistry that specializes in the oral health of children from birth till the late teen years. They are qualified to treat and care for the mouth, gums, and teeth of children throughout all stages of development.
How to Be a Good Pediatric Orthodontist
If you’re wondering how to be a good pediatric orthodontist, there are a few skills that’ll be helpful: Pediatric orthodontists need to have a solid grasp of the dental needs specific to children and will need to be able to get along well with young children and their parents in order to succeed. Good dexterity with the hands, analytical problem-solving skills, close attention to detail, ability to learn and effectively use advanced technologies, comfort working in close physical proximity to patients, and clear communication skills are all required traits in order to be a good pediatric orthodontist.
What Kind of Training Do You need to Be a Pediatric Orthodontist?
Another question we get frequently is “What kind of training do you need to be a pediatric orthodontist?” The answer is not so simple as there are years and years of training involved. Starting in college, one must earn their bachelor’s degree before going on to dental school and then successfully complete a residency program. For further details, continue reading:
Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
In order for one to continue pursuing a career in pediatric orthodontist, it is normally the case that one would earn a bachelor’s degree. The focus of the courses one takes during this period includes biology, chemistry, physics, human anatomy, physiology. For those going into pediatric dentistry or orthodontics, it is a good idea to also take courses in psychology, child development, and business; and this is especially so if one intends to open a private practice someday.
It is also recommended that during this time those who plan on working with children spend some time getting real-world experience working with children in some capacity, be it with research projects revolving around child health. Interning with an already established pediatric dentist or orthodontist is also a great idea and gives the student good exposure to working with children in the medical field.
Graduate from a Dental School Program
Once the prospective pediatric orthodontist has earned their bachelor’s degree, the next step is to graduate from a dental school in order to become a licensed DMD or DDS. For the first couple of years, the focus of the student’s study will be on learning dental procedures and sciences in a laboratory. The following 2 years are set up so that the student can take part in group clinical exercises where they learn to treat and diagnose patients while being supervised by senior, licensed dentists. After successfully making it through this rigorous training program and have earned high marks on their dental school exams they will become a licensed DDS or DMD.
During dental school, the basics of pediatric dentistry are covered but for those pursuing specialization in pediatric dentistry, further specialized training will be necessary.
Study for and Pass the National Board Dental Examination
Further elaborating on the process of becoming a licensed DMD or DDS, prospective pediatric orthodontists need to pass the National Board Dental Examinations, administered by the American Dental Association, before they earn their license to practice dentistry.
The exam is split into two parts where part 1 is a written test that intends to gauge future dentists’ knowledge and expertise regarding oral health. Part 2 is a clinical examination that may only be taken once part 1 has been passed successfully. Different states in the US have their specific requirements in order for one to earn their license and it isn’t unusual for them to require dentists and orthodontists to continue learning by way of attending special seminars and classes.
Complete a Pediatric Orthodontics Residency Program
Once the prospective pediatric orthodontist had successfully completed dental school and earned their DDS or DMD license, a residency training program is required. There are over 70 different official pediatric dentistry residency training programs available in the US alone and they’re all presided over by the AAPD. These programs are between 3 and 5 years in length and usually directly follow completion of dental school and satisfactory scores on the National Board Dental Examinations.
The purpose of these residency programs is to create an immersive environment for prospective pediatric orthodontists to learn about specific studies and gain valuable clinical experience.
After successfully making it through the 3 to 5-year residency program a certification examination will need to be taken and once passed, the pediatric orthodontist may begin their professional practice!
The training process required in order to be a successful pediatric orthodontist is long and rigorous, but with good reason! We want to make sure that our teeth are as healthy and shiny as they’ll ever be, and if one is to have someone work on our children’s teeth, they better be up to the task! Rest assured, when you’re paying for pediatric orthodontic treatments, you’re paying for expertise gained through many years of specialized training.
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What Kind of Training Do Pediatric Orthodontists Do?
Dr. Joel Gluck has practiced orthodontics since 1983 when he opened his own office in Nashville. He earned his undergraduate degree at Washington University in St. Louis, and his dental degree at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Gluck then completed an orthodontic specialty residency at the University of Michigan, one of the top five orthodontic training residencies in the country. He also wrote an original thesis and received a Master of Science degree.