It might seem like an oversimplification, but two things got you interested in peiatric dental care: a young child and teeth.
The young child that you met through the local mentoring program first helped you make the connection to young patients. You were matched with a nine year old girl who had loved most of her life in foster care because both of her parents were in jail. She really did not like school much, but she showed some interest in science, the fact that you were a biology major, and the mention of a possible college campus tour.
Your shy and timid mentee was only ten years old named when you first met her, and for the last three years you have met with her every other week. Every opportunity you get you remind her of the importance of education, but you also try to introduce her to situations where she is able to interact with fun educational opportunities. You let her know that she could be the first one in her family to attend college, and you let her know that she might even decide to follow the career path that you have selected.
And while your memories of dentists are the opposite of what you are, you still have fond memories of the old guy with the white hair who first introduced you to working with teeth. You were older than your mentee at the time, but you still remember the day that you first got a whiff of the a grinder working away at a tooth. You were in high school and did not yet have your driver’s license when you first attended workshops that let you work with your dental tools. With a bar of soap, you were allowed to use real tools to carve out your own tooth. After that initial project, you were given a real tooth that had a cavity and you were asked to grind out the cavity and then fill it. The grinding smell was unforgettable, but so was the later experience of observing and shadowing dentists who cared about their patients and who hoped to transform the lives of those patients with new smiles.
Children and teeth. Teeth and children. As you look back at your schooling you now realize that you were gravitating toward nearly any experience that was introducing you to pediatric dental care. You have no way of knowing if your young mentee will ever chose your same career path, but you hope that she will follow in your footsteps and pursue a career that combines her current love for science and the desire to help others.
Childrens Dentistry Is a Career That Allows Dentists to Change Smiles, Change Lives
Pediatric dental services continue to grow in importance. The simple fact that most Americans are living a longer live mean that their teeth need to be better maintained and protected. Given the advancements that have been made in pediatric dental care, it also makes sense that it is important to get as many children as possible connected with these services.
Consider some of these facts about the importance of pediatric dentistry and pediatric orthodontics:
- 20% U.S. children go without dental care, in spite of the latest pediatric dental care advancements.
- 40% of children have dental cavities by the time they go to kindergarten.
- Children with poor oral health are three times as likely to miss school as a result of dental pain.
- Tooth decay, including dental cavities, should be an important focus of parental attention as they look to maintain a child’s health. In fact, tooth decay is 20 times more common than diabetes and five times more common than childhood asthma.
- 19% of children between the ages of 2 and 19 have untreated dental cavities, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- 10% to 39% of dental injuries in children are caused by sports, especially chipped and broken teeth. With the advancements in pediatric dental care many of these injuries can be more successfully treated.
When was the last time that your young child or teenager went to the dentist? Make sure that you are doing what you can to get the dental care that they need so they have the healthy teeth they will need as an adult.