A children’s dental specialist in Los Angeles, CA, is simply a dentist who treats children, right? If only it were so simple! We used to refer to a dentist who specializes in treating children as a “pedodontist,” but today, “pediatric dentist” is the term more commonly used. A pediatric dentist has completed the traditional 4-year doctoral training in dentistry plus a two-year, post-doctoral specialty residency focused on pediatric dentistry. Some pediatric dentists, including Dr. Hila Robbins in Los Angeles, CA, have also completed a post-doctoral fellowship at a children’s hospital and gained additional experience in caring for hospitalized children or outpatients.
Traditionally, pediatric dentists have focused on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of common dental problems, such as tooth decay, dental pain, infection, cleanings, referrals to other specialists, and early orthodontic intervention. Yet, today’s pediatric dentists treat much more than the teeth and gums. Today’s pediatric dentists take a comprehensive, “whole-body” approach to dental health, as it relates to the entire body because of the interrelation and interaction between the health of the teeth, gums, and oral cavity to whole-body health.
Today’s pediatric dentists are also adopting and following practice philosophies and new modes of treatment that go beyond “traditional” care an incorporate research and evidence from other disciplines. Thus, more pediatric dentists are taking a multidisciplinary approach to their practices.
In addition, pediatric dentists may now refer to their practices or be known among colleagues and parents as alternative, holistic, natural, integrative, functional, or biological, to name the most popular “non-traditional” approaches to care. It is important to note that these terms are neither precise nor mutually exclusive. The terms can mean different things to different people, and also, pediatric dentists may combine elements of different practice philosophies or choose different modes of treatment, to adapt to different parental and patient preferences and health situations.
In future blog posts, we will explain “non-traditional” approaches to pediatric dentistry in more detail.