Pediatric Dentistry is the Specialty of Dentistry that focuses on the oral health of infants, children and adolescents, including young people with special needs. All Pediatric Specialists are Dentists, but only 3% of the Dentists in the United States are Pediatric Specialists.

Education and Training

There are three steps in a Pediatric Dentists’ education:  college, dental school and a Pediatric Residency Program.  It can take 10 or more years of education after high school to become a Pediatric Dental Specialist.  After completing college requirements, the prospective Pediatric Specialist attends dental school.  Upon graduation, the future Pediatric Specialist must be accepted as a student in an accredited Pediatric Dental Residency Program, then successfully complete a minimum of two academic years of study.  The Pediatric student learns the skills required for the detection and treatment of dental diseases of infants and children, as well as the development of preventative dental health habits that keep a child free from dental/oral disease.

This Education and Training includes the following:

  • Periodicity of Examination, Preventive Dental Services, Anticipatory Guidance, and Oral Treatment for Infants, Children, and Adolescents
  • Caries-risk Assessment and Management for Infants, Children, and Adolescents
  • Perinatal Oral Health Care
  • Adolescent Oral Health Care
  • Oral Health Care for the Pregnant Adolescent
  • Management of Dental Patients with Special Health Care Needs
  • Oral and Dental Aspects of Child Abuse and Neglect
  • Fluoride Therapy
  • Behavior Guidance for the Pediatric Dental Patient
  • Protective Stabilization for Pediatric Dental Patients
  • Use of Local Anesthesia for Pediatric Dental Patients
  • Use of Nitrous Oxide for Pediatric Dental Patients
  • Monitoring and Management of Pediatric Patients During and After Sedation for Diagnostic and Therapeutic Procedures
  • Use of Anesthesia Personnel in the Administration of Office-based Deep Sedation/General
  • Anesthesia to the Pediatric Dental Patient
  • Clinical Practice for the Use of Pit-and-Fissure Sealants
  • Restorative Dentistry
  • Pulp Therapy for Primary and Immature Permanent Teeth
  • Management of the Developing Dentition and Occlusion in Pediatric Dentistry
  • Dental Management of Heritable Dental Developmental Anomalies
  • Acquired Temporomandibular Disorders in Infants, Children, and Adolescents
  • Management Considerations for Pediatric Oral Surgery and Oral Pathology
  • Use of Antibiotic Therapy for Pediatric Dental Patients
  • Antibiotic Prophylaxis for Dental Patients at Risk for Infection

Licensing and Board Certification

A Pediatric Dental Specialist candidate must successfully pass State Board Examinations to become a Licensed Pediatric Dental Specialist.

A Pediatric Dental Specialist may also pass a National Board Examination of the Academy of Pediatric Dentistry to become a “Board Certified” Pediatric Dentist.

Pediatric Specialist Title

Only Licensed Pediatric Specialists are eligible for membership in the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

Only those who have successfully completed this formal Education and Licensing process may call themselves “Pediatric Specialists”.

General Dentists who advertise that they serve children are not Pediatric Dental Specialists and do not have the Training and Licensing of Pediatric Specialists.

Pediatric Dental Specialists limit their scope of work only to Pediatric Dentistry.

Qualifications and Expertise

Pediatric Specialists are uniquely qualified in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of Infant and Children’s Dentistry.  They dedicate their professional lives to creating healthy, beautiful smiles in children, teens and special needs children.

Because of the Pediatric Dentist’s advanced education and clinical experience, they have the unique knowledge and skills necessary to meet every child’s individual dental treatment needs.