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What does a Pedodontist do?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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A pedodontist is a dentist who specializes in caring for the dental needs of children. Pedodontists complete their medical education as dentists, and receive additional training in the specialty of pediatric dentistry so that they can provide the best possible care to their patients. While a child can be taken to a general dentist, just like a child can be taken to a general practitioner for medical care, a child may benefit from the specialized services of a pedodontist, much as some children benefit from seeing pediatricians.

Children have some special dental needs, because they are still growing, and as a result their mouths are actively developing. As children lose baby teeth and develop adult teeth, the care of a pedodontist can ensure that they get to keep their adult teeth for life. Services offered by a pedodontist include routine teeth cleanings, prophylactic care, dental examinations, and recommendations to practitioners who can provide children with orthopedic care if their teeth or jaws appear to be developing abnormally.

Preventative care is a big part of the practice of a pedodontist, as early intervention during dental development can head off a variety of problems, from occlusion issues to cavities. This care can include dental education to help children learn to care for their teeth and gums, along with prophylactic procedures such as sealing the teeth to prevent cavities. Pedodontists work with children from infancy to adolescence, providing dental care as the mouth and teeth develop.

Pedodontists also customize their care to keep children comfortable and happy. Reducing stress in children makes it easier to provide dental care, and it also creates a lifelong comfortable relationship with dentists and dentistry. Since some adults experience fear of the dentist which has been exacerbated by the care they received as children, getting people to accept dentistry is an important part of the practice of a pedodontist, ensuring that children will grow up into adults who regularly seek dental care.

A pedodontist can receive a higher salary than a general dentist, reflecting his or her specialized training. Some work in their own private offices, while others may join a dental practice for children or a family dental practice which offers dental care for people of all ages. Pedodontists can also be part of a pediatrics office, allowing parents to receive complete medical care for their children in one location. Like other dental professionals, pedodontists keep up with advances in the field by attending regular conferences and subscribing to trade publications.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By whiteplane — On Jun 26, 2011

@wander - I also had a great experience with a pediatric dentist when I was a kid. His office was filled with toys, you got to ride a big wheel into the the dentists room and while the work was being done you got to play a handheld video game.

There is a story that came out of this time that has become a kind of family legend. After one trip to the dentist my dad asked me how it went and I replied "Great, I like going to the dentist better than I like going to the arcade." Oh how wrong I turned out to be. A few cavity fillings went a long way towards changing my mind.

By truman12 — On Jun 26, 2011

It seems to me that pedodontists need to have 2 basic but significant skills. The first is the training and knowledge necessary to respond to the unique demands of children's dentistry. They have to know what kind of diseases and disorders are common amongst children and how the size of their mouths and teeth will effect the work that is done.

But I think the next skill is just as important. Pedodontists have to understand how to work with children. Most people hate the dentists and even adults are known to throw a fit or complain about the work that is done. Children are that much more sensitive and would need a great dentist to help them feel calm and safe while the work is being done. This is no small feat I'm sure.

By Sara007 — On Jun 26, 2011

If you have children do you need a special recommendation to take them to a pedodontist, or can you just make an appointment directly with his or her office?

I would like to make sure that my children have the best care possible with their new teeth coming in and really like the idea of specialized care and dealing with someone that has more tailored knowledge about children's teeth.

Also, having a fun environment for my kids to play in sounds like a great bonus to seeing a pedodontist. We all know how scary seeing a dentist can be.

By wander — On Jun 26, 2011

I remember when I was quite small that my mother used to take me to a pedodontist for checkups and to make sure my teeth were coming in correctly. I found the office amazingly fun, because unlike a regular dentist's office it was made for children.

The pedodontist's office had a full play set installed and was as well outfitted as any kindergarten classroom with books and activities. What I loved the most from my visits was that if I had been taking care of my new teeth, and had no cavities or trouble you could pick things from the treasure chest. This box contained all sorts of small toys that you could take home. It made looking after your teeth at a young age fun.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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