A pediatric dentist is a dental specialist dedicated to the oral health of infants, children, adolescents and patients with special health care needs.
A pediatric dentist completes 2 additional years of specialized training after dental school. As part of that advanced training, Dr. Fisher studied child psychology, growth and development. Dr. Fisher is trained and extremely qualified at treating patients with medical, physical or mental disabilities. A pediatric dentist is viewed as the specialist when it comes to a wide variety of dental issues that affect children including tooth decay/cavities, malocclusion (crooked teeth) and trauma/emergency care. Dr. Fisher is considered an expert in working with highly anxious or fearful patients as well. A pediatric dentist is trained in treating children while sedated or in a hospital if necessary. Dr. Fisher has been a faculty member at both Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and Marquette University School of Dentistry for many years where he has been involved with the training of future dentists and pediatric dental specialists. Dr. Fisher is certified as a diplomat by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry.
What’s the difference between a dentist and a pediatric dentist?
Dental school is typically four years of training after completing an undergraduate degree, just like medical school. In addition to graduating from dental school, dentists must pass multiple rigorous written and clinical exams to be able to apply for a dental license. A license is legally required to work as a general dentist in a particular state. All pediatric dentists start out taking these same steps as general dentists.
Diplomate, American Board of Pediatric Dentistry
To become a certified pediatric dental specialist, 2-3 years of additional full-time training must be completed in special programs called residencies. These programs usually involve treating patients, taking care of after-hours emergencies, and participating in academic lectures and projects. Some programs are based in hospitals and others are based in universities. It’s a very competitive application process to be accepted into a pediatric dentistry residency program.
Dentists who want to become pediatric specialists have decided to focus on treating infants, children, adolescents and adults with special healthcare needs. There are many special skills a pediatric dentist learns in residency, such as diagnosing the unique behaviors of children and sometimes using advanced techniques to help children safely cope with dental care. This may involve using sedative medications to work with certain patients. Pediatric dentists may even provide comprehensive treatment under general anesthesia, meaning the patient is entirely asleep in a hospital operating room or special outpatient office while every tooth problem is fixed at once.
Pediatric dentists are also specially trained in emergency trauma care for baby teeth and permanent teeth. It is common for kids to fall face first and require emergency dental treatment. The benefit of establishing a dental office for your child by age one is that you will have somewhere to turn to in the unfortunate case of an emergency. Whether it’s a baby tooth or a permanent tooth, pediatric dentists are specially trained to stabilize the immediate problem and do what it takes to save teeth whenever possible.
Beyond trauma care and sedation dentistry, pediatric dentists have the experience and wisdom to work at an age appropriate level with any child. The goal is to create a positive experience that reduces fear, increases confidence and prevents disease. Every child deserves the chance at a lifetime of good oral health and a trusting relationship with a dental office.Back to Dental Topics