What Makes a Good Pediatric Dentist? - Hardy Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics

What Makes a Good Pediatric Dentist?

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A dental hygienist in a pediatric office showing a young boy how to brush his teeth on a dental model.

Not all dentists are created equal and you will want to be selective in what type of dentists you go to depending on expertise, your age and what procedures you need. When it comes to children, a pediatric dentist is the best for treating child and infant oral health needs. However, a pediatric dentist needs specific training to work well with children and to create an inviting environment where your child will want to be. Find out what a pediatric dentist does, the training they need, and what a good pediatric dentist will look like!


Training to Become a Dentist

Did you know that a dentist can be considered a surgeon? Dentists are known as dental surgeons, or surgeons who train specifically to work with the mouth. Becoming a dentist takes just as long as it does to become many different kinds of doctors. People training to become dentists must complete 4-5 years of undergraduate education, making sure to complete specific courses in science fields in preparation for medical school. Prospective students must then get into competitive dental schools that only take a certain number of people each year.


Getting into a school requires months of work studying and preparing for rigorous tests that will test for the best candidates. Once accepted, students will have to complete at least 4 years of dental school, where they then do additional training or fellowships. Once students have completed both undergraduate schooling and earned a DDS or DMD (dental) degree, they have to register with various councils in order to practice dentistry on patients. Every year there are continuing education courses dentists must take and pass well, making sure to train in new dental technology. If you visit a dentist frequently, then you can be sure you have a professional working on you that has been to school for about a decade training in all areas of your face and mouth.


A dental hygienist in a pediatric office showing a young girl how to brush her teeth on a dental model.

What Is a Pediatric Dentist?

Remember how we mentioned fellowships and additional training? That is what sets different dentists apart. Dentistry is a field full of dental professionals who train in specific functions of the face and mouth. You have professionals that only focus on gum disease (periodontics), oral surgeons (oral and maxillofacial surgery/craniofacial), cosmetic dentists, endodontists (that only do root canals), and many more specialists. A pediatric dentist is a dentist that has obtained post-dental school education for infants and children.


Part of that adaptation requires a pediatric dental residency, which provides hands-on training and coursework for child dentistry, orthodontics, development, psychology and infant oral care. For example, Dr. Nam at Hardy Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics is trained in child psychology, which she uses for every patient she sees. From newborns to adults, she knows how patients think and what worries them when it comes to dental work.


Often, a pediatric dentist will work closely with organizations specific to children. Dr. Nam is a team member with the Children’s Hospital of Colorado, a facility that treats and heals more children than any hospital in a 7-state region. She also is a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and is a mother herself. Her training in child psychology and experience with countless children help make her a skilled pediatric dentist.


A dental hygienist doing a dental cleaning on a child.

Pediatric Dentistry

Do you have a child? You should consider taking them to a pediatric dentist! All certified DDS and DMD dentists are trained to work on a patient’s mouth to help rid it of tooth decay, gum disease and oral health problems. However, general dentists are trained in a very broad spectrum instead of being trained specifically to work with children. Because our practice is centered only on pediatric dentistry, you can be sure that your child’s needs are met not only physically, but psychologically.


Things you will find with a pediatric dentist in their office is:

  • Services catered to children such as infant frenectomies (lip and tongue-tie correction), interceptive orthodontics, habit-breaking appliances and methods, dental sealants, white fillings, digital x-rays and dental cleanings catered to children.
  • Bright colors, designs and decorations all over the office that help children feel welcome and as if they are at play instead of in a medical setting.
  • Friendly staff that are all trained to work well with children.
  • Laser dentistry services, which offer pain-free fillings and which get rid of the need for shots and drills, which scare children. Using lasers in dentistry help us to find tooth decay, fix it, and provide an experience your child will like.
  • Dental lingo that your child will understand. We avoid using words such as “shot”, “drill”, “needle” and “pulling teeth”. Instead, we use “sleepy juice”, “whistly toothbrush”, “tooth counter” and more.
  • Less stress. With procedures and cleanings, we practice a technique called “Tell-Show-Do”. We first “tell” your child exactly what we will be doing, then “show” it to them on their finger or by modeling it, then we “do” the procedure.


Qualities to Look For

Many people go to various dental offices until they find one that they like. That is especially true when working with children, as children can get anxious about dental work. This is one of the reasons it’s important to start children off with dental visits when they are still infants. They get used to being a dental office and they know what to expect from their time there. Equipment is smaller—or “child-sized”—and less intimidating than a normal dental office.


A pediatric dentist will be nice and inviting for your child, helping to cultivate good feelings about dental work. Pediatric dentists will are the most gentle for children and infants out of all the dentists out there. If you have a child, definitely consider taking them to a pediatric dentist. To learn more about our pediatric dentist and staff, call Hardy Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics today at (720) 887-6003!