Pediatric dentistry is an age-defined specialty that provides both primary and comprehensive preventive and therapeutic oral health care for infants and children through adolescence. This includes patients with special health care needs.

The specialty emphasizes the prevention of oral diseases through early intervention and initiation of comprehensive preventive practices. Pediatric dental care includes the restoration of teeth and replacement of teeth, management of soft and hard tissue pathology, vital and non-vital pulpal tissues, traumatized primary and permanent teeth, and the developing occlusion.

The pediatric dentist must be proficient as well in the use of pharmacological and non-pharmacological techniques to manage the anxiety and behavior of patients. Pediatric dentists provide comprehensive care in traditional settings as well as hospital and institutional sites and, when indicated, in conjunction with other dental and medical disciplines.

Residents who complete the full 24-month postgraduate program in pediatric dentistry at MUSC are expected to have developed their skills and knowledge to the level of a specialist in Pediatric Dentistry as approved by the ADA Commission on Dental Accreditation.

This is accomplished through the following clinical and didactic experiences:

  • A four-week anesthesia rotation with the Department of Anesthesia of the Medical University of South Carolina Hospital.
  • A two-week pediatric medicine rotation with the Department of Pediatrics of the Medical University of South Carolina Hospital.
  • Didactic instruction two half-days per week as a first-year resident and one half-day per week as second-year resident. All other time is spent in direct patient care.
  • Clinical pediatric dental care including the diagnosis and treatment of infants, children and adolescents in the primary, mixed and young permanent dentitions to include: preventative care, advanced restorative techniques, pulp therapy, management of dental emergencies and traumatic injuries or oromaxillofacial injuries, pediatric oral pathology, space supervision and guidance of eruption, interceptive orthodontics and oral surgical procedures. 
  • Training in non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic behavior guidance methods for safe and effective dental care. The clinical application of pharmacologic conscious sedation, using a wide range of sedation medications and techniques, are realized on approximately 50 to 60 patients by each individual resident over the course of the two-year program. Residents also treat 35 to 50 patients with a dental anesthesiologist and intravenous sedation.
  • Comprehensive dental of children with medically complex cases and who are developmentally unable to receive treatment with non-pharmacologic methods. Residents become experienced in serving our hospital-based population. Residents provide oral health care under general anesthesia to approximately 175 patients over the course of their training.
  • Clinical management of children and adolescents with craniofacial anomalies are experienced in the department's role as a primary care component of the MUSC craniofacial team. The Craniofacial Anomalies Clinic is scheduled on a monthly basis throughout the program.
  • Growth and development in the context of management of the occlusion through integrated diagnostic, treatment planning and biomechanical orthodontic applications is approached with a clinical involvement of two half-days per month for both first- and second-year residents. These clinical orthodontic experiences involve interceptive, multiple-phase, growth modification and comprehensive levels of biomechanical orthodontic treatment.
  • All residents prepare a select group of case reviews that document the clinical management of pediatric patients in addressing major treatment issues common to advanced specialty care. Besides documenting the resident’s performance in the delivery of quality dental care, the experience enhances the resident's ability for critical analysis and patient documentation.
  • Teaching experience as clinical instructors in the predoctoral pediatric dental clinic during the second year of the program and creation and delivery of lectures and case discussions.
  • All residents conduct a data collection research project and report of publishable quality.
  • Exposure to practice management and dental care delivery through seminars and visits to varied private and public clinic sites.