Dentistry offers a wide variety of potential work experiences, which depend primarily on your choice of specialty. During your dental school program, you’ll have the opportunity to try out several potential areas of concentration. For many dental students, their pediatric rotation will stand out, for better or worse. Whatever you do, don’t dismiss its potential without considering why pediatric dentistry is an excellent career choice!
The Mission: Pediatric Dentistry Is About Setting Your Patients Up for Lifelong Success
The main goal for any great dental career is always to help patients achieve better oral health. However, the mission of pediatric dentists stands apart from the crowd as they are setting the foundation for patients’ dental journey.
Building Exceptional First Experiences
Pediatric dentists are uniquely positioned to build patients’ psychological responses to the dental environment from the ground up. You will be the first experience for many, if not most, of your patients in a pediatric setting. That means you can shape their feelings about going to the dentist right from the beginning.
Nothing is better than seeing a young child’s smiling face at the end of a successful appointment. Their excitement and pride are absolutely contagious. While caring for tiny teeth does take some special skills, no patient can reward your effort as profoundly as when a young kid reaches out to hug you after a visit.
Fear of the dentist ranks in the top five most common concerns on almost every survey. This fear often starts with just one or two negative experiences in childhood. Great pediatric dentists thrive on the opportunity to help set their patients on the path to a lifetime of superb oral health.
Helping Patients Overcome Anxiety
Sometimes, patients have dental fear that comes from outside their own experiences. Dental fear can frequently stem from anxieties passed down from their parents or caregivers. Beyond building exceptional experiences from the beginning, pediatric dentists’ mission also entails helping young patients move past existing fears.
Fortunately for pediatric dentists, children may have an easier time overcoming their anxiety than their adult counterparts. Where dental anxiety in adults may have had years of reinforcement, making it more difficult to undo, children have an amazing capability to adapt to skillful clinicians.
Growing with Your Patients
Your skills will likewise grow as you navigate pediatric patients through so many milestones. If you’re considering working with pediatric patients in any setting, finding a practice that will support your growth as a dentist can make all the difference in your career. Dr. Caleb Reece values the dental mentorship he’s found working with Community Dental Partners:
“Community Dental Partners looks after its doctors to ensure they are well-equipped for success. It’s been a great experience.”— Dr. Caleb Reece
The Benefits: Pediatric Dentistry Offers Huge Potential Rewards
Working with patients through their early years isn’t the only reason why pediatric dentistry makes an excellent career choice. There are also significant financial and practical benefits.
The Recession-Proof Specialty
Pediatric dentistry remains relatively stable throughout economic fluctuations. Whereas many patients will forego cosmetic and even restorative dentistry when money gets tight, they will rarely let their kids’ oral health slide as easily.
Because most of us prioritize our healthcare for our kids over ourselves, pediatrics is a good option for uncertain economic times. Dentistry as a whole can be especially vulnerable to recessions. Because most patients may not fully understand how essential oral health is to their wellness, they tend to feel like dental healthcare is optional. When it comes to their kids, however, they are much more likely to stick with routine cleanings and will be much more open to completing proposed treatments.
Substantial Income Potential
Not only is pediatric dentistry a stable career choice, but it also has the potential to be highly profitable. Some estimates point to pediatric dentists making about $70,000 more annually than general dentists.
Efficiency and time management can often be significant shortcomings for new dentists. But improving these two skills can make all the difference in your potential income. Learning to work efficiently also means perfecting your patient management techniques.
Fun, Engaging Work Environment
For dentists seeking a little more whimsy in their workday, pediatric dentistry is where it’s at. While it’s certainly not all fun and games, working with kids can be a rewarding experience that keeps you from feeling bogged down at work. Let’s face it: kids can be way more fun than grown-ups.
Bringing a spirit of play into your work helps you maintain your energy and also helps engage and comfort young patients. It’s a win-win! From more colorful décor to amusing props for patient education, there is something extraordinary about working in a practice that caters to pediatric patients. And staying in touch with your inner kid can also help you enjoy your job that much more.
Regardless of what type of practice you select, you will unlikely go through your entire career without ever seeing a young patient. Working with children is highly rewarding, both financially and energetically. Schedule a call with a Hiring Manager to learn why pediatric dentistry is an excellent career choice!