What Are the Requirements to Be a Pediatric Dentist?

Pediatric dentists promote healthy teeth and gums in children and adolescents. Becoming a dentist requires the completion of an undergraduate program and dental school, as well as earning licensure and voluntary board certification. Read on to learn more about the requirements to become a pediatric dentist. Schools offering Dental Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Pediatric dentists promote healthy teeth and gums in children and adolescents. Becoming a dentist requires the completion of an undergraduate program and dental school, as well as earning licensure and voluntary board certification. Read on to learn more about the requirements to become a pediatric dentist.

Undergraduate Preparation

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that most students obtain a bachelor's degree before entering dental school. While there are no undergraduate degree programs in dentistry, some colleges and universities offer pre-dental advising programs that can help students meet the required prerequisites for dental school. These prerequisites typically include undergraduate courses and labs in biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry, as well as classes in math and/or physics.

Admission to dental school also requires completing the Dental Admission Test (DAT). Other factors that could affect your chances of admission include grade point average, interviews, and recommendations.

Important Facts About Pediatric Dentists

Training Specialty training in pediatric dentistry is available at the graduate level
Degree Requirements Doctor of Dental Surgery or professional degree
Key Skills Finger dexterity, critical thinking, customer service oriented, clear communication, time management, problem social, social awareness, excellent observation
Continuing Education Licensure, residencies, or specialty exams
Median Salary (2018) $146,970 (for 'all other' dental specialists)
Job Outlook (2016-26) 13% (for 'all other' dental specialists)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Dental School

Through your dental studies, you'll gain a background in science and complete clinical and laboratory courses in dentistry. In the last two years of your four-year program, you'll gain hands-on practice in dentistry by treating real patients. Typically, upon completing dental school, you'll earn a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS).

Specialty in Pediatric Dentistry

Although general dental school usually includes some courses and clinical experience in pediatric dentistry, you'll want to complete additional education in the form of a certificate and/or master's degree program in pediatric dentistry, which can take from 18 months to three years to complete. Another option is a residency in pediatric dentistry, which typically can be completed in two years. These specialty programs cover child behavior, growth and development, tooth trauma, preventative care, and other specialty topics in pediatric dentistry. You'll also complete research and clinical work and gain experience by providing care to pediatric patients.

Licensing

According to the BLS, all states require licensure to practice general dentistry. Licensing usually requires meeting education requirements and completing written and practical exams.

You also can earn specialty licensure in pediatric dentistry. Requirements typically include some postgraduate education. You also might have to pass a specialty exam or complete a residency.

Board Certification

In addition to attaining licensure, you have the option of becoming certified by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry (ABPD). Board certification requires completion of advanced study in pediatric dentistry and an active dental license (www.abpd.org).

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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