Pediatric Dentists are not divided from our medical colleagues (and most certainly not from Pediatricians). We see ourselves as co-therapists, living in our respective homes in the medical and dental neighborhood!
The following points demonstrate how pediatric dentistry is lodged within pediatric medicine in the care of children that began more than a half-century ago and persists today:
- As early as the 1950s, the Academy Of Dentistry For The Handicapped, composed largely of pediatric dentists, engaged medical colleagues in the care of children with special needs.
- In the 1960s, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and pediatric dentists engaged in formulating school health and ambulatory health care guidelines related to children’s oral health.
- Pediatric dentistry’s advanced training standards have for decades required exposure to the medical issues of children, partnership in hospital affairs, participation on interdisciplinary teams, as well as functioning within a hospital (for imparting oral healthcare protocols under I.V Sedation and General Anaesthesia).
- The AAP has a Section on Oral Health bringing pediatric dentists and pediatricians to work together on policy and scientific statements affecting oral health of children.
- AAPD (American Academy Of Pediatric Dentistry) and AAP have worked together on developing sedation guidelines for children by all health professionals, and on other health issues like fluoridation, craniofacial abnormalities and early intervention.
- Pediatric oral health has been one of AAP’s major priorities in the first decade of this century, leading to the incorporation of oral health in Well Child Care by family practitioners and pediatricians.
- Interprofessional care has long resided in pediatric dental practice through the inclusion of patient safety issues beyond the provision of oral health care. Pediatric dentists and pediatricians collaborate on the hospitalization of children and management of oral-systemic problems on a routine basis as well.
- The integration of pediatric dentistry and pediatric medicine comes closer to being next-door neighbors than residing across a chasm. This interprofessional unison is extremely pivotal for patients. Why? First, the homogeneity of our patients: they are all children.
Second, the shared reality of childhood disease paired with a shared hope of its prevention.