pediatric dental education

Happy National Dentist’s Day!

They safeguard your child’s mouth from sugar bugs. They fight the good fight trying to help parents and kids learn proper brushing techniques. They hold the secrets to healthy smile and gums. They even know how to save your tooth if you’ve fractured or bumped it! How in the world did they obtain these powers? What does it actually take to become a Pediatric Dentist?  Since today (March 6th) is National Dentist’s Day, we’d thought it would be fun to take a glimpse into what Dr. Will & Dr. Mike had to do to become Board Certified Pediatric Dentists.

What Kind Of Training Is Required To Become A Dentist?

Most dentists begin with a 3 or 4 year Bachelor of Science degree before undergoing the application process for dental school.  Applicants are encouraged to have high scores in biology, inorganic/organic chemistry, physics, and biochemistry. To apply they are required to pass a Dental Admission Test, submit an application and required materials, and participate in an interview process.

Kids Teeth Pediatric Dentists

Dr. Will MacDonald & Dr. Mike Myers

Once accepted they begin taking courses that focus on dental anatomy, physiology, pathology, molecular biology, oral microbiology, neuroscience, radiology, pharmacology and dental anesthesiology.  The dental programs offered also focus on how to manage a practice and work with all patient types.  They also complete clinical rotations that allow them to observe dentists and work with actual patients.  Their graduate training is identified as a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) and typically takes four years to complete.

Does Becoming A Pediatric Dentist Require Additional Training?

Yes! After their undergraduate degree and graduate training are complete, they must now begin their specialty training. This two-year residency program starts after graduation from dental school and immerses dentists in scientific study and clinical experience.

Just like your child’s pediatrician, once they complete their residency they can become board certified by passing an examination given by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry.  This certification reflects the dentist’s commitment to lifelong learning and continuing education. This is a certification that they must re-certify every ten years. See chart below to review the training steps of a Pediatric Dentist.

Pediatric Dental Education

How Long Does It Take To Become A Pediatric Dentist?

4 years of undergrad + 4 years of graduate program + 2 years specialty training = 10 years

Where did Our Pediatric Dentists Attend School?

Dr. Will received is undergraduate degree from Wofford College, his graduate degree from the Medical University of South Carolina and completed his specialty training in 2004 at MUSC.

Dr. Mike earned his undergraduate from MUSC then continued his dental schooling (DDS) at MUSC.  Upon completion he completed a general dentistry residency at the University of Florida then came back to MUSC to complete his specialty training to become a pediatric dentist in 2006.

Combined they almost have 30 years of experience and our office has been serving the Mount Pleasant community and Charleston area since 1979.

How can I learn more about becoming a dentist?

You can learn more about becoming a dentist through various professional associations like the American Dental Association, the South Carolina Dental Association, or the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. We also offer job shadowing for students, career day visits to schools, or observation days for currently enrolled dental students.  If you’re interested in any of these offerings, please call the office to learn more.