What does it take to become a Pediatric Dentist or Orthodontist?
In addition to being the right kind of person, patient, smart, kind, good manual dexterity, and good people skills, it requires, well, lots of schooling. I often run into people who assume dental school is sort of a trade school you do after high school for a couple of years. In fact most dentists must complete a 4-year university degree before even entering dental school. Dental school is at least 4 years. At that point you may want to put out your shingle and start practice. You receive either a DDS, doctor of dental surgery, or a DMD, doctor of dental medicine. I am not going to go into it here, but suffice it to say there is no substantive difference between these two degrees, especially as far as the patient is concerned.
Most dentists go on for further schooling! Many do a general practice residency in a hospital setting to refine their skills. Some go on to obtain a PhD for a career as an educator or in research. Some obtain an MD degree in addition to their DMD or DDS. Many do, as I did, and specialize in one of the recognized dental specialties: Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Orthodontics, Pediatric Dentistry, Endodontics, Periodontics, Prosthodontics, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology, or Public Health. Most of these require at least two additional years of intense study. I’ll have more on these specialties later.
Let’s see, that’s at least ten years after high school to become a Pediatric Dentist or Orthodontist! Not exactly the local trade school.
*February 10, 2006 Update: check out this new post on this topic The Dental Specialties
If you want more, go back to the home page or click here:Pediatric Dentistry