What is a Paediatric Dentist?

Advancement in the speciality of Paediatric Dentistry

Paediatric Dentistry is the branch of dentistry that is concerned with preventive and therapeutic oral health care for children from birth through to adolescence, and especially for those with special needs. It includes management of orofacial problems related to medical, behavioural, physical and developmental disabilities.

Paediatric Dentists are registered as specialist dentists and must have completed at least three years of additional study after their general dentistry training. The additional training is provided under the supervision and direction of specialist dental and medical staff in various hospitals and university clinics, so the Paediatric Dentist has a broad range of experience in managing the diverse oral health care needs of children. A Paediatric Dentist must register their specialist qualification with the Dental Board in their jurisdiction and restrict their practice to Paediatric Dentistry.

Can any Dentist call themselves a Paediatric Dentist?

While many general dental practitioners may have developed skills and expertise in the management of children’s oral health, only registered specialists in Paediatric Dentistry may refer to themselves as a Paediatric Dentist

What particular expertise do Paediatric Dentists have?

Paediatric Dentists are trained to know all about:

  • Physical and psychological growth and development of children from before birth to adulthood.
  • The causes and treatment of the full range of oral diseases both inherited and acquired, from decay to gum disease, tooth wear to traumatic dental injuries, missing to poorly formed teeth.
  • The individual nature of each child and how their temperament, family and school environments and background impact on oral health.
  • Childhood illness and disability and how these can impact of oral health and dental treatment.
  • Existing research, best practice guidelines and evidence based treatment related to children’s oral health.

Paediatric Dentists are trained to:

  • Identify things that are causing dental disease and to know how to help children and their families have healthy teeth and mouths.
  • Deliver specialised techniques for managing anxious and/or young children including using special approaches for giving local analgesia and dental sedation as well as providing dental treatment under general anaesthesia.
  • Treat children who have medical, physical and intellectual conditions including those with behavioural challenges such as Autism and ADHD.
  • Work with doctors, paediatricians, nurses, allied health professionals as well as teachers and child care workers to help make sure that children have the best dental health possible.
  • Advocate for children’s oral health

Types of care routinely provided by Paediatric Dentists

  • Children with complex treatment needs or extensive decay
    Paediatric Dentists are able to provide comprehensive care under nitrous oxide sedation in the dental chair or under general anaesthesia as a short day-stay procedure. Enabling your child to cope well with their treatment is our highest priority, and will ensure they are happy to visit the dentist in years to come.
  • Children with medical and genetic conditions
    Many children with serious medical or genetic conditions require dental care in conjunction with other medical doctors and allied health professionals. Dental health has significant impacts on general health, and Paediatric Dentists understand the importance of an oral health care plan that is tailored to your child’s needs.
  • Management of dental injuries to both primary and permanent teeth
  • Management of children with dental conditions such as missing teeth, extra teeth, enamel defects and abnormal eruption of teeth
  • Children with anxiety or behavioural issues
  • Very young children
    Paediatric Dentists are happy to see children from birth for a variety of neonatal oral conditions, checking oral and facial growth and development, eruption of teeth, early guidance on when and how to brush for young children and nutritional advice for toddlers and young children to minimise decay risk in the future.

Equivalent terms for a Paediatric Dentist

Paediatric Dentist
Specialist in Paediatric Dentistry