Like all dentists, pediatric dentists must earn one of two degrees. They can choose between a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDM). The two grades require a minimum of four years of study in a dental school, and are equivalent to each other. Getting into dental school is a difficult task, as it is incredibly competitive.
Dental schools analyze GPAs, recommendations, and scores on the dental acceptance test. Once accepted, future dentists should study in areas such as anatomy, anesthesia and periodontology. During the first two years of the dental program, students should focus on learning dental science and procedures in a laboratory setting. The next two years consist of exploring clinical exercises in groups.
During this time, students learn how to first diagnose and then treat adult patients under authorized dental supervision. After completing the four years, students will become DDS or DMD. To become a specialist, additional training is required. Just as students applying to a college typically submit a standardized test score, most dental schools will require you to submit a score on the DAT along with your transcript when you apply for admission.
The DAT rates students on a scale of 1 to 30, with a higher score, which means you performed better on the assessment. Pediatric dentists promote healthy teeth and gums in children and teens. Becoming a dentist requires completing an undergraduate program and dental school, as well as obtaining voluntary board licensing and certification. Read on to learn more about the requirements to become a pediatric dentist.
Before working as a pediatric dentist, you must complete years of dental studies and clinical experience. Those who aspire to be pediatric dentists must first earn a bachelor's degree and then complete dental school. They must then pass a series of exams to earn board certification. The CDA is the board that oversees this residency program and graduates with a Doctor of Dental Medicine or a Doctor of Dental Surgery.
Pediatric dentists receive extensive medical training in advanced topics, including pediatric anesthesiology, pediatric dentistry, and oral surgery. For example, dentists who specialize in pediatric dentistry are more likely to learn how to treat children under general anesthesia, understand behavioral patterns, and gain the trust of their children.