Like working with kids? Consider specializing in pediatric dentistry, or pedodontics.

"First visit by first birthday" is the rule for when a child should start visiting a dentist. As a pedodontist, you have the unique opportunity to shape your patients' attitude toward dentists—an attitude that will most likely prevail for the rest of the child's life. To prepare for this significant task, pedodontic training includes child psychology, development, and growth.

Aside from preventing a life-long fear of dentists, a pedodontist's most common tasks are dealing with cavities, tooth loss due to accident or injury, and preventive care to reduce the risk of future complications. The specialization also deals with surgery for cleft palates.

At 18 to 24 months, pedontotics has one of the shorter residencies of the dental specializations, but is a field of that offers some of the greatest personal rewards.

For more information about becoming a dentist, visit the American Dental Association website or