The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) defines a patient with special health care needs (SHCN) as an individual with “any physical, developmental, mental, sensory, behavioral, cognitive or emotional impairment or limiting condition that requires medical management, health care intervention, and/or use of specialized services or programs.” Historically, children and even adults with SHCN have been treated by pediatric dentists because of the behavioral management necessary for many of these patients.
As an ADA Success program speaker, I am always honored to speak to dental students from across the country on topics such as practice management, leadership and ethics, and the state of the dental profession. No matter what topic I speak on, however, I am always questioned about something that I mention in my introduction: I am a general dentist who limits my practice of dentistry to treating pediatric patients.
Interview season still feels scary and exciting for me as a faculty member, just like when I was applying for residency in 2012. I’ve written before on how to handle illegal interview questions, which I hope you don’t encounter. May the following ideas either give you an edge or maybe help take the edge off.
On a cold Friday this past February, when I was a second year dental student, I passed through the school atrium and saw student doctors dressed up as tooth fairies and playing games like Wheel of Dentistry. There were countless kids having their faces painted and laughing through a magic show while eagerly awaiting their dental visits. It was Give Kids A Smile Day at Rutgers School of Dental Medicine (RSDM).
So, you’re interested in pediatric dentistry? I know the feeling! It’s an exciting specialty with opportunities to practice on young patients in a variety of settings. There is a unique joy in setting up patients and families for a lifetime of optimal oral health. I am just about half way through my residency training at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. As a first-year resident, the majority of my time is spent treating patients in a hospital-based clinic, as well as an urban health center in the area. My advice on the application process…