Dental Career

What Does a Pediatric Dentist’s Work Environment Look Like?

Dental Career

What Does a Pediatric Dentist’s Work Environment Look Like?

Pediatric Dentist smiling at a young female patient.

Pediatric dentistry can be a great career choice for many reasons. Beyond the potential financial benefits and job security that come with pediatrics as a specialty, many dentists are attracted to what they assume will be a fun, easy work environment. But what does a pediatric dentist’s work environment really look like?

Working with Kids Can Be a Lot of Fun—But Not Always

Working with kids in any capacity usually sounds like fun. More fun than working with adults, anyway. Pediatric dentists do frequently enjoy a more fun and light-hearted work environment than most general dentists. Many kids will come to your chair excited and enthusiastic. They ask amazing and unexpected questions. They’re a super easy audience for all your best cheesy jokes. In short, for people who enjoy children, pediatric dentistry gives you a ton of opportunities to enjoy your day.

When a child is not in the mood for their appointment, however, it can really gum up the works. Timid, hesitant, and resistant children can’t be reasoned with in the same way as most adults. Where adult patients can usually self-regulate enough to get through even the toughest procedures, kids don’t have those skills. If a young patient shuts down or becomes overwhelmed, it can completely derail your plan. There will be times you’ll have to cancel the appointment and reschedule.

Mother and child in the pediatric dentist office, with dentist smiling nearby.

However, for pediatric dentists who have perfected their patient management skills, you’ll be able to turn these challenges around. By effectively managing the heightened emotions some patients may experience, you can help guide children toward confidence and comfort in the chair. Unlike adults, kids frequently overcome their trepidation in the moment. They can move quickly from crying to giggling with the right reassurance. 

It will be up to you as the dentist to keep the energy in your practice positive and fun. Working with the right team can make all the difference. As you search for a job or consider partnering with a group like Community Dental Partners, be sure to scope out the culture and environment of their pediatric practice. We believe in crafting a welcoming atmosphere for kids as an essential step toward great experiences and a lifetime of excellent dental health. 

Pediatric Dentists Need to Be Comfortable Working with an Audience

Dental appointments can be a source of anxiety for kids and parents alike. Many times, parents and caregivers will expect to accompany their children throughout their appointment. For dentists not accustomed to working with an audience, this can be nerve-racking. Having a critical guardian watching over your shoulder can really throw you off your rhythm.

Family watches on as pediatric dentist and assistant work on young male.

Not only that, but parents sometimes make kids even more nervous and less compliant than if they were flying solo. Even the most well-intentioned guardians can do more harm than good when it comes to patient management. Children can feel their family’s worry and allow it to escalate on their own. Pediatric dentists need to be experts in de-escalation and helping people manage their fears. You’ll need to build trust with your patients and their families, and it can be tricky to balance both sides.

What really makes the difference in your work environment as a pediatric dentist is your team. Your practice should have clear guidelines for when you can ask parents to leave things up to you, and when they should be allowed to pull up a chair. Your team needs to be emotionally and energetically available to help you manage patients and parents alike. A well-run pediatric practice, like you’ll find with CDP, will help you build the right team to give your patients the great experiences they deserve while keeping parents happy.

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Great Pediatric Dentistry Means You’ll Need the Right Stuff

One of the great benefits of specializing rather than working as a general dentist in a family setting is that your practice will be tailor-built with smaller patients in mind. Most family practices have adult-sized equipment. That can make it hard to get quality diagnostic images, achieve accuracy with your handpiece on those tiny teeth, and even to position your patient comfortably in the chair. 

In a specialty practice, you’ll get the right equipment for your patients. You’ll be able to do better pediatric dentistry in a work environment built with kids in mind.  From smaller x-ray sensors to booster seats, your instruments will fit your patients better. Even the décor in pediatric practices typically appeals more to kids and helps them feel less afraid. Rather than the sterile, muted colors of many general practices, your pediatric office may have bright walls with fun characters. You’ll likely have educational tools more suited to your audience like plush animals and oversized toothbrushes. 

Assistant walks family back to the dental chair at a pediatric office.

You’ll also have the training and certifications to offer the full range of treatments your patients may need, including sedation. With the right team beside you and a practice prepared to give you what you need to do your best work, you’ll be able to give your patients the excellence they deserve in a comfortable environment.

Pediatric Dentistry Is a High-Speed Work Environment

Perhaps more than any other type of dentistry, pediatrics is a high-speed work environment. From cleanings to fillings and even the most advanced procedures, you’ll be on a tighter timeline when you’re working with kids. Part of this time restriction comes from a productivity framework. After all, most children’s teeth just don’t require the same amount of time to work on as their adult counterparts.

Pediatric dentist works on child as mom, sister, and assistant watch.

However, more than maximizing your time to see as many patients per day as possible, kids just have less bandwidth for how long they can sit still. You can’t reasonably expect a small child to sit in your chair for hours at a time unless they’re undergoing sedation. On an average day, you’ll need to come in prepared to work quickly and be prepared for speedy turnover in your operatories. Again, the right support team can help keep everything working smoothly and efficiently. And help keep kiddos calm and compliant while you work!

It’s also important to note that working quickly on many patients per day can wear on you over time. As a pediatric dentist, finding a work environment that can help you maintain your energy is essential. Be sure your practice will help you achieve a good work-life balance and avoid burnout. Great dental office culture with an eye toward career satisfaction and longevity will serve you especially well as a pediatric dentist.

Here at CDP, we pride ourselves on providing the best experience for each patient. That means giving our doctors the right equipment and the right work environment to provide focused, compassionate care every day. Schedule a call with a Recruiting Manager to learn more about pediatric dentist careers at CDP!

Dr. Craig Copeland
Dr. Craig Copeland Chief Dental Officer Community Dental Partners

A graduate of Brigham Young University’s Business Finance department and the University of Florida’s College of Dentistry, Dr. Craig Copeland, DMD first joined Community Dental Partners (CDP) in 2010, after co-founder Dr. Chad Evans invited him to an interview.

He instantly fell in love with CDP’s mission to elevate dentistry, make great dental care accessible, and provide unique and amazing experiences for underserved communities. The organization’s culture aligned with his own beliefs and he knew that CDP would offer him the ideal environment in which to grow.

Today, Dr. Copeland is the Chief Dental Officer of Community Dental Partners and focuses on helping CDP’s doctors exceed in their careers, through mentorship, training, and strengthening CDP’s support systems.

Dr. Copeland lives in Texas with his family: his wife and four children. He’s an avid sports fan, and supporting his children in their activities, such as basketball, gymnastics, and soccer, keeps him busy. He also likes to travel to new places with his family whenever he can.

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