Speaking to dental students from across the country about topics like practice management sensitive teeth treatment, leadership and ethics, as well as the state of the dental profession is an honor. Regardless of the topic, I am always asked about my background as a general dentist sensitive teeth treatment who specializes in pediatric dentistry.
They want to treat pediatric patients in their future general practice but don’t know how to get experience without going to a pediatric residency. Since dental schools provide varying levels of pediatric training, it’s understandable that you feel you need more experience to treat children. This patient population has different needs than adult patients, and you owe it to them to have a solid foundation before treating them. Every child deserves to be treated in a safe, comfortable, and efficient manner. Fortunately, there are many things you can do right now to improve your ability to treat pediatric patients as a general dentist.
Here are my five tips for treating pediatric patients in general practice:
1. Consider a GPR or AEGD program me. Do you want to work with children but do not want to do a pediatric residency? Many general dentists do not want to “give up” their ability to treat non-pediatric patients if they specialize. A second year of focused clinical time is a great opportunity to build your speed and confidence with restorative dentistry and treatment planning. So you can practice behavior management and get used to using nitrous oxide on kids. Because not all AEGDs/GPRs have extensive pediatric experience, ask program me directors and residents directly. In my GPR, we saw pediatric patients daily and did full-mouth rehabilitation in the OR. After this experience, I felt much more confident in treating children in private practice.
2. Get lots of CE. If you treat this special population, remember that you have an ethical obligation to provide the same level of care as a specialist. It’s difficult to know if you’re treating like a pediatric dentist without knowing what that means. There are some great pediatric CE courses available to help you learn more about pediatric dentistry and get you started. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) offers a Comprehensive Review Course. Students get 50% off the course.
3. Join AAPD. About the AAPD, I highly recommend becoming a student member before becoming an affiliate member. As a general dentist, the AAPD has been invaluable. I get updates sensitive teeth treatment on new policies and practices, access to their journals and resources, and notices of local CE events. I also suggest The Handbook of Pediatric Dentistry. It’s a great resource that covers a lot of ground when treating kids. This is my daily practice book.
4. Extern with a pediatric residency or a pediatric dentist. I returned to pediatric residency later than most, so I had been practicing for several years when I did an externship. The number of valuable techniques I was able to bring back to my practice after a short three-day residency visit surprised me. Externships at pediatric dental residency programmers and local pediatric dentists are great ways to learn how to manage pediatric patients, present treatment plans to parents, and use the latest pediatric dental technology.
How to refer? Caries treatment is only one aspect of treating children. Discussions on proper growth and development, nutrition, and habit counselling are all part of the job. If you are not ready to discuss a child’s dental development and oral health needs as a provider, you should refer them to a specialist. When ready, start with simple procedures prophase, sealants, small restorations) and work your way up to more complex procedures. If a child is anxious and you are unable to provide safe treatment, you must refer them to a specialist. These specialists see high-anxiety, complex pediatric patients daily and may recommend sedation or hospitalization.
As a general dentist, I have enjoyed treating children white filling in Lahore the most. Fortunately, the number of pediatric dental patients has increased over the last decade, so there is opportunity and need for you to treat this population.
Good luck, and feel free to ask questions or express concerns. I am happy to help you treat pediatric patients in your future general practice.