The History Of Pediatric Dentistry – Term Paper Example

The History of Pediatric Dentistry Oral health-care which is one of the most important but often neglected part of the human health regimen does notstart once the pain begins to set into the tooth. Rather, it is a part of our history as a human being that should have been practiced from the time one was a child. As we all know, treating a child with oral health problems or concerns is highly different from treating an adult. Which is why there is now a great interest in the emerging practice of Pediatric Dentistry.
Believed to have begun in the early 20th century, pediatric dentistry is actually a form of dental care that began long before, in the homes of moms with teething children, concerns about breastfeeding, and adult tooth eruptions. In effect, pediatric dentistry used to be dealt with using solely home remedies and nothing more (A.A. Kowitz & H.T. Leow. “Paediatric Dentistry: Fauchard and Before”). In the modern times, American Pediatric Dentistry can actually trace its roots all the way back to 1925 with it slowly becoming a prominent part of childhood care by 1968 (S. Gelbier“History of the International Association of Pediatric Dentistry Part 1: National Associations and Societies of Dentistry for Children”). More commonly known these days as Pedodontics, pediatric dentistry actually takes up a whole part of a childs growing years starting from his birth going well into his teenage years. With tooth problems being the most common childhood medical ailment in American since the year 2002, the importance of pediatric dentistry has become more and more important in the development of a childs over all health and development (E. Sweeney“Pediatric Dentistry Information”).
In the United States, Dr. Samuel David Harris may be considered the “Father of Pediatric Dentistry”. He was one of the foremost advocates of childhood dental health who, upon graduation from the Ann Arbor Dental School in 1924, promptly enrolled at the Forsythe Infirmary for Children where he set up his child centered dental office. The first of its kind in the world (S. Gelbier“History of the International Association of Paediatric Dentistry Part 2: Early Events in the U.S.A. - The American Society of Dentistry for Children”).
One must note that in the history of pediatric dentistry, there is no dental school that allows one to graduate with credentials for pediatric dentistry. Rather, those who wish to become pediatric dentists must follow the same route as regular dentists. They have to spend 4 years in dental school, then go on to more progressive studies specializing in pediatric dentistry. Therefore it will take an average dental student 6 years before he can call himself a pediatric dentist. (E. Sweeney“Pediatric Dentistry Information”).
A lot has actually changed in the study of childhood dentistry from the 1900s. Whereas a dentist from that era would encounter a tooth cavity and have no other option but to extract it, the modern pediatric dentist would instead work towards saving as much of the tooth as possible. This is a practice that began with restorative dentistry back in the 1950s. If one were to take a deeper look into modern day pediatric dentistry, the practitioner will most likely note that:
The profession has changed immensely, mainly due to developments in technology, materials and disease patterns. We are currently witnessing a revolution of ideas, technologies, and products where the goal is to manage the disease that causes cavities, and not only to treat them with restoration (fillings). Implants have become so successful, that the idea of saving a failing tooth "at all costs" is at least questioned (Dr. Joel H. Burg “Q&A on the History of Pediatric Dentistry”).
Regardless of all the changes in technologies that are now emerging for the benefit of the pediatric dental patients, the most important tools of the trade will still always be the burr and mirror, without which, the practice of filling in a cavity and probing a tooth would never have become possible.
Works Cited
Berg Joel. Dr. Q&A on the History of Pediatric Dentistry. National Museum of American History. americanhistory.edu. 25 Feb. 2013. Web. 18 Sept. 2013.
Gelbier, S. History of the International Association of Paediatric Dentistry Part 2: Early Events in the U.S.A. - The American Society of Dentistry for Children. International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry. 5 (1995). 55-57. Web. 17 Sept. 2013.
Gelbier, S. History of the International Association of Paediatric Dentistry Part 1: National Associations and Societies of Dentistry for Children. International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry. 4 (1994). 281-287. Web. 17 Sept. 2013.
Kowitz, A.A. & Leow, H.T. Pediatric Dentistry: Fauchard and Before. PubMed.gov. nih.gov. Jun. 1993. Web. 16 Sept. 2013.
Sweeney, E. Pediatric Dentistry Information. soyouwanna. soyouwanna.com. n.d. Web. 18 et. 2013.