What is a paediatric dentist? - ABC Dentistry
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What is a paediatric dentist?

A paediatric dentist is a specialist dentist who is trained in the management of dental conditions in children from birth to adolescence. In Australia you must be registered as a specialist with the dental board and you need to have a basic dental degree and a suitable masters qualification. An extra three years of specialist training is completed following a basic dental degree. This training also includes the management of children with complicated medical conditions and part of the training is usually undertaken within a Children’s Hospital here in Australia.

A paediatric dentist is specially trained to understand your child’s special needs, assess their growth and development, diagnose and manage many different conditions affecting the oral cavity, manage trauma and provide interceptive orthodontic care when indicated. Paediatric dentists are very experienced in using behaviour management techniques, sedation and general anaesthesia for your treating your child.

A paediatric dentist understands what treatment will work for your child and the best way to carry it out for the benefit of all concerned. A paediatric dentist is specially trained to look at the “big picture” of your child’s oral health and give you an overall assessment. There are other people who might treat your child when you are at the dentist and they may include:

  • The dentist – a general dental practitioner has completed a dental degree usually 5 years long at a university level. There is no restriction on what they can do to help with managing your child
  • The hygienist/ therapist – your child may have seen the therapist at the school dentist or in private practice (they can be hired in private practice). A dental therapist has training of 2-3 years, mainly on procedures for the primary dentition. They are often used as the first person that your child may see in any given practice. There may be limits placed on the types of fillings that they are able to offer to you.

A paediatric dentist is able to offer you the most up to date options for the management of your child’s teeth. They are trained to provide the treatment that should last for the life of the tooth. The paediatric dentist has a wide knowledge base of conditions affecting your child and options for management.

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