Let’s Talk Pediatric Dentistry with Dr. Krista Kunz of Magnolia Pediatric Dentistry in Mt. Pleasant, SC

Did you know that a pediatric dentist is different from a general or family dentist? Pediatric dentists have an additional two to three years of study in residency. In this blog post we’ll review some of what pediatric dentists learn during those two years and the benefits of taking your child to a pediatric dental practice.

To become a dentist, one must first obtain a bachelor’s degree, usually in biological sciences, and then spend four years studying dentistry. Once finished with dental school, pediatric dentists continue their education with a two to three year program that teaches even more about caring for patients from their first tooth, through their teenage years. The residency program not only provides additional dental skills, but also teaches pediatric dentists important elements of child psychology and development. Dr. Kunz completed dental school at UNLV and pediatric residency at Boston University.

Pediatric dental programs start with adapting the skills learned in dental school to provide comprehensive oral care for toddlers, children, and adolescents. It’s important to remember that baby teeth are not just miniature adult teeth, and that you cannot approach children the same way you approach adults when it comes to oral health care. Training in residencies emphasize growth and development, cavity prevention, diet, and behavioral and psychological development from infancy through adulthood. Pediatric dentistry is the only dental specialty that is defined by age, and it also includes those with special health care needs.

The years in which teeth are developing are the most important time of their life, and most people don’t realize that for baby teeth, this time starts during pregnancy. The dental habits formed can last a lifetime and the issues that a pediatric dentist can foresee and diagnose can prevent future dental issues. When children visit their pediatric dentist regularly, it can save time, money, discomfort, and prevent dental anxieties.

Pediatric dentists are also specially trained to deal with the emotions of children visiting their practice. Child development and child psychology classes can help manage pre-treatment fear and anxiety in an age appropriate manner. Dr. Kunz designed her office with reducing fear and anxiety as the main priority. Her office has a viewing window in the waiting area so kids and parents can see other kids in the dental chairs and know there’s nothing to worry about. Pediatric dental residents learn how to treat special needs patients,and how to safely administer different forms of anesthesia.

To further their education even more, many pediatric dentists will also become Diplomates of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. This is a “volunteer examination process that continually validates [a pediatric dentist’s] knowledge, skills, and experience” after successful graduation from an accredited pediatric dental residency. You can find out if your dentist is a Diplomate of the ABPD by searching their online roster.

Dr. Kunz is proud to have completed all of this training and be a board certified pediatric dentist. She is so happy to be seeing happy smiles at Magnolia Pediatric Dentistry in Mt. Pleasant, SC!



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