Published on April 27, 2018, Updated on April 27, 2018
Not all dentists are created equal, and not all have the same exact training. Dentists are required to complete 10 years of school and to keep up on their training through the years. However, not all dentists have experience working with children and not all have training to do so. That is why pediatric dentists are unique. Find out what additional training pediatric dentists have over other dentists and how that training benefits your child!
Did you know that it takes 10 years to become a dentist? Dentists must complete 4 years of undergraduate studies, where they then take tests and apply for dental school. Getting into dental school can be tough, and requires lots of work and dedication. Once in, a dentist will train for 4 years on becoming an expert in oral health. Then, they will take at least 2 more years (or more) in a specialty, where they train in the field and with other dentists.
Becoming a pediatric dentist can involve more years of dental training, as these dentists must take courses about child psychology and must specialize in dental training specifically for infants and children. They do jobs such as infant frenectomies, interceptive orthodontics, habit-breaking appliances, infant dental exams and more.
Pediatric dentistry is more than just having dental training to work on a child’s mouth. Did you know that you also have to have experience working with children and taking courses on child psychology? For example, our pediatric dentist Dr. Namrata Hardy specializes in providing oral health to infants, children, adolescents and individuals with special needs. She not only completed dental school, but she then took extra years specializing in pediatric dentistry at Brookdale Hospital in NYC. She had to take courses on child psychology and had to receive specific dental training for working with children.
A pediatric dentist has to have that specialization in working with children specifically. The psychology dental training helps a pediatric dentist know how a child thinks and feels, especially about dental work. That changes the way a dentist approaches dental services. At Hardy Pediatric Dentistry, we provide comprehensive children’s dental services in a safe, fun and educational environment. Our office is filled with bright colors, toys, and things to entertain children as they get dental checkups or have dental work done. Parents can accompany children back to their dental chair, and for young children, the child can even sit in a parent’s lap during their examination. Your child is surrounded by those they know and people who are warm and welcoming.
Did you know that dental phobia affects up to 15% of people? This is fear of the dentist or dental office, and is usually caused by past, unpleasant memories. Many adults skip going to the dentist because they fear shots and drills or they think a procedure might be painful (even if it’s not). Dental phobia is a real condition, and it is something that prevents many people from getting the dental help they need.
Children are not immune to being scared of going to a dental office either. There are many children that need dental work done, but are scared of the tools they see in a dental office. They don’t know if shots and drills will be needed for their treatment. Mostly, children fear the unknown. That is why dental training in pediatric dentistry is so beneficial. We know how to make children comfortable and we explain what we are doing before we do it. In fact, we practice something called the “Tell-Show-Do” method. We first “Tell” your child exactly what we will be doing. Then we “Show” it to them on their finger or by modeling it. We then actually “Do” the procedure. Children know what to expect, and their fear goes away.
Pediatric dentistry can be very different than general dentistry for all ages. There are many methods of teaching and showing that we perform in our office for children, that you just don’t get anywhere else. The Tell-Show-Do method is one of those. We also know that children don’t like the dental tools they see and get nervous if we plan to use them. Because of this, we give these tools friendly terms and explain what they are to children. It’s important to avoid using words such as “shot”, “drill”, “needle” and “pulling teeth”. We instead use words such as “sleepy juice”, “whistly toothbrush”, “Mr. Thirsty”, “Tooth Counter” and more. Using terms that a child can understand and that makes objects seem less scary, helps them to not be scared.
Some of our pediatric patients do better than even adults because they understand that they don’t need to be scared. Plus, we practice laser dentistry, which takes away much of the pain and even the blood of normal dental work. For infants with tongue or lip-tie, we can simply laser the tie without blood and it’s fairly pain-free. We use laser dentistry in as many of our services as possible, as the laser light naturally cauterizes any incision immediately. Many children don’t cry or even make a fuss because it makes dental work easy and virtually painless. You won’t find laser dentistry offered at many practices, which makes us unique.
When choosing a dentist, you want the best one you can get. You want only the best dentist to work on your own teeth, so why not have the same for your child? Children have different needs than adults do, as one size does not fit all in every situation. Dental training is different with every dentist you find, but you want to choose a dentist for your child that has pediatric dental training. This can help make your child’s first dental experience one that is fun and comfortable instead of the opposite. To learn more about what makes our practice unique, call Hardy Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics today at (720) 887-6003!