Pediatric dentistry is an age-defined specialty that provides both primary and comprehensive preventive and therapeutic oral health care for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health care needs.
To become a pediatric dental specialist, a dentist must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 24 months in an advanced education program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association. Such programs must be designed to provide special knowledge and skills beyond the general dentistry degree.
Pediatric dentistry encompasses a variety of disciplines, techniques, procedures, and skills that share a common basis with other specialties, but are modified and adapted to the unique requirements of infants, children, adolescents, and those with special health care needs. By being an age-specific specialty, pediatric dentistry encompasses disciplines such as behavior guidance, care of the medically and developmentally compromised and disabled patient, supervision of orofacial growth and development, caries prevention, sedation, pharmacological management, and hospital dentistry, as well as other traditional fields of dentistry. These skills are applied to the needs of children throughout their ever-changing stages of development and to treating conditions and diseases unique to growing individuals.