5 Ways to Expand Your Career as a Pediatric Dentist

Increase your pediatric dental skills and give your patients optimal care.

Dental professionals are always looking for ways to expand their careers and find personal and professional fulfilment. There are outdated mentalities in dentistry that believe dentists simply “drill and fill,” but more recent dental education focuses on preventive dentistry and treating the patient as a whole and not just looking at the mouth. Pediatric dentists have numerous opportunities to advance their career, increase revenue, and provide the highest quality of patient care. 

There are many ways a dentist can broaden their pediatric dental career depending on your interests. Some pediatric dentists choose to work in academia because they enjoy working with dental students and residents. Others prefer to enter public health and get involved in social programs to get more access to care for patients. For dentists choosing to remain in private practice, here are some key ways to expand your career and find further clinical success. 

1. Get involved in organized dentistry.

Dental organizations are a great way to network with other dentists and take exciting continuing education courses that satisfy licensure requirements. Many dentists join the American Dental Association (ADA), but there are smaller, local dental groups that provide great discounts on supplies and courses like orthodontics or clear aligners to help bring in more revenue. 

Some pediatric dentists prefer to get involved in organized dentistry by leading meetings, hosting lectures for local dentists, and working in the administrative part of organizations to bring about change in guidelines for dentists. It is one of the best ways to meet dentists from other regions and gain knowledge about how others manage their dental practices. 

2. Focus on airway dentistry.

There is a major awareness of how tongue and lip ties affect a person’s airway and sleep. Years ago when patients would report teeth grinding and symptoms associated with poor sleep, we often brushed it off and reminded them it could be due to stress or a transient habit. Some dentists were taught to create nightguards to help alleviate grinding. We now know there is a direct link between tongue ties and sleep apnea. 

In pediatric dentistry, you can expand your career by learning, diagnosing, and treating young patients with these chronic problems. Young patients with teeth grinding, difficulty nursing, speech problems, or behavioral issues may suffer from a tongue tie causing poor sleep or affecting eating and speech patterns. Most times a tongue tie can be relieved with a simple procedure called a frenectomy. 

We have a duty as pediatric dentists to treat our young patients to the best of our abilities, and by incorporating sleep dentistry into your practice, you can help alleviate long-term problems for your patients. Tongue-tie treatment, myofunctional therapy, and lactation consulting are also linked to sleep dentistry and can help provide additional services for your patients. 

3. Incorporate orthodontics.

There is no greater, more lucrative way for a pediatric dentist to expand their career than orthodontics. Orthodontics is a field directly related to pediatric dentistry where you monitor and treat dental growth patterns from a young age. The American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends every child receive a dental evaluation by age seven and, since you are already providing care for your patients from a young age, what better service can you provide than orthodontics? 

The American Orthodontic Society (AOS) offers comprehensive courses for pediatric dentists looking to incorporate orthodontics into their practices. The upcoming Basic Straight Wire course in Dallas, Texas, offers dentists an opportunity to learn about, diagnose, and treat Class I and Class II malocclusions. It is an invaluable opportunity to network with other dentists, gain meaningful continuing education credits, and provide a service that is necessary for your patient demographic. 

4. Provide extensive preventive services.

Preventive care is a necessary tool and treatment in pediatric dentistry, but are you utilizing it to the fullest? You can easily expand your career by incorporating all preventive services for your patients. This certainly means fluoride treatments, dental cleanings, dental sealants, and patient education, but there are additional services you can offer your patients.

Space maintainers and athletic mouthguards are a great way to provide preventive care for your patients to avoid long-term orthodontic issues or trauma. It is also a lucrative way to increase revenue and help your patients maintain their oral health. 

Offering minimally invasive dentistry is a popular and helpful way to provide treatment for your patients. You can expand your pediatric dental career by offering Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) to help special needs and younger patients avoid pain, sedation, and fear of the dentist. It is both a good marketing tool and practice builder for parents looking for conservative dental treatment. 

5. Take a leadership or management course.

Running a dental practice is like managing a cruise ship. There are so many components to take into consideration: patient care, recruiting and managing staff, administrative duties, insurance, supplies, equipment, etc. There is not enough training in dental school or residency to prepare a dentist for life as a dental practice owner. 

Consider taking a course in leadership or management skills to help your office operate at optimal success. You can expand your career by understanding the best way to lead your team and it may direct you to other opportunities as well, like lecturing on dental management or consulting for other health-care professionals. 

There are several ways that pediatric dentists can expand their careers. If you are looking for ways to make your practice more lucrative, consider offering orthodontics or minimally invasive dentistry services. You can also become involved in dental administration or local organized dentistry to network with other involved dental professionals. There are numerous pathways for anyone who is keen to expand their skill set and their practice.  

To learn more about our popular orthodontics courses for pediatric and general dentists, check out one of the upcoming events below.

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