A pediatric dentist specializes in the dental needs of children and adolescents. Pediatric dentists focus on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases and conditions of the oral cavity (mouth, teeth and gums) and the maxillofacial area (head, neck, face and jaw). Pediatric dentists also maintain the function and appearance of these areas. The overall goal of pediatric dentists is to help their patients maintain a healthy mouth, teeth and gums and establish healthy, lifelong oral habits.
A pediatric dentist typically:
Evaluates the patient's dental and medical history and performs an oral and dental exam
Educates patients about dental conditions and diseases, good oral hygiene, and oral disease prevention
Orders and interprets laboratory and imaging tests, such as X-rays and saliva tests
Prescribes medications, including antibiotics and pain medications
Diagnoses oral and maxillofacial diseases and conditions based on an evaluation of tests and exams
Provides preventive oral and dental care including dental cleanings and fluoride treatments
Treats various oral and maxillofacial diseases and conditions including tooth decay, gum disease, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder
Works closely with other dental specialists and doctors as needed to ensure optimal care
A pediatric dentist may also be known by the following terms: pedodontist, kids dentist, dentist for children, children's dentist, Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS), and Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD).
There are 1735 specialists practicing Pediatric Dentistry in California with an overall average rating of 4.4 stars. There are 130 hospitals in California with affiliated Pediatric Dentistry specialists, including Children's Hospital Of Orange County, Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center and Loma Linda University Medical Center.