Paediatric dentists are sometimes referred to as the "paediatricians" of dentistry. A paediatric dentist has 2-3 years of specialty training following dental school. They have specialty training in areas such as the treatment of infant oral health, the treatment of early childhood caries, the growth and development of the child patient, preventative dental care, and the management of medically and developmentally compromised children. They also have extensive training with specific and effective behaviour management skills that include but are not limited to sedation types of dentistry like nitrous oxide sedation, oral sedation and general anesthesia.
If a general dentist does not feel comfortable or is unable to provide comprehensive care for a young patient, they should consider referring to a paediatric dentist. Comprehensive treatment would include the treatment of cleft lip and palate patients, the use of space maintenance appliances following early extractions, the treatment of dental emergencies such as abscessed primary teeth and or trauma to primary and or young permanent teeth.
The age and maturity of the child as well as the amount of treatment that is required should be a factor when a general dentist considers treating the child in their office. All too many times, what may seem like a simple appointment may turn into a very difficult appointment for the child and the dentist. The patient leaves unhappy, and the parents can become upset as well.
The paediatric dentist in most cases will refer the patient directly back to the referring office for routine recall examination and care once the comprehensive treatment is completed.
By Dr. Shonna Masse
Dr. Shonna Masse is a certified specialist in paediatric dentistry. She treats children from teething to teens, and children with special needs. She is privileged to be on staff at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and Trillium Health Centre in Mississauga. She is the Immediate Past President of the Ontario Society of Paediatric Dentists (OSPD) and has served on the OSPD executive since 2002.
Dr. Masse graduated with a masters degree in Paediatric Dentistry from the University of Michigan. She is a Fellow in Paediatric Dentistry with the Royal College of Dentists of Canada and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. She has been a recipient of the Proctor and Gamble Paediatric Dentistry Award and the American College of Dentists Award, and was inducted into the dental honourary society Omicron Kappa Upsilon.
Dr. Masse’s professional affiliations are as follows:
Ontario Society of Paediatric Dentists (OSPD)
Canadian Academy of Paediatric Dentistry (APD)
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD)
American Board of Pediatric Dentistry (ABPD)
Ontario Dental Association (ODA)
Canadian Dental Association (CDA)
Royal College of Dentists of Canada (RCDC)
American Dental Association (ADA)