Choosing to pursue the field of pediatric dentistry involves considering many factors. In order to focus on pediatric practice, rather than general dentistry, it requires one to have extra schooling, patience, and maybe even a little extra joy.
Certainly, anyone pursuing a dental degree is required to complete a good deal of schooling and possess the skills and talent to practice in the field. However, choosing to specialize in pediatric dentistry adds another element to both requirements. When Dr. David Moore graduated from the North Carolina School of Dentistry in 1986, he decided that he would rather spend his time working toward a pediatric specialty rather than opening a general family practice.
He went on to complete a Master of Science degree, as well as a certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Pediatric Dentistry, at The Ohio State University in 1988. In addition, he secured membership in the American Dental Association, the North Carolina Dental Society, the Southeastern Society of Pediatric Dentistry and the Southwestern Society of Pediatric Dentistry.
Still, all the education, training, and memberships won’t guarantee that pediatric dentistry is right for someone looking to enter the field. It also requires some less tangible items, like patience.
Working with children, in any field, can be a challenge. Each child is vastly different from the next and has their own developmental, maturity, and emotional levels to consider. Many kids might also have an already-established fear of the dentist that must be factored into mannerisms, office practices, and approach. Simple procedures and exams that might go quickly when dealing with an adult patient may take much longer when accommodating the needs and emotions of children.
Another element of practice unique to the pediatric field is the parents of the patients. Not only must a pediatric dentist be equipped to work carefully with the child in the exam chair, the dentist must be able to also address parental concerns and help them to feel at ease as well. One way to help establish good relationships with patients and parents is by actively working to create a trustworthy connection with the community. The more authentic and open a pediatric dentist can be, the more that parents and kids will be able to create a lasting relationship with the doctor.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, pediatric dentists need to enjoy what they do and who they will be working with. Dr. Moore truly enjoys spending time with children and getting to know each and every one of the families he meets. Being able to watch children grow from early toddlerhood through the teenage years is a true gift of being in this field. His greatest satisfaction comes from being able to help care for smiles, one kid at a time.