Pediatric dentistry is a growing field, according to Boyd Industries. The company notes that there will be more than 80 million people under the age of 18 years in the United States by 2020. Plus, 17.5% of children aged 5 to 19 years have dental caries. Approximately 28% of all preschoolers have untreated caries, and that jumps up to 80% of all high school graduates.
This decay has consequences, too. Untreated, it can lead to poor eating habits, lack of sleep, and decreases in functional ability at school and at home. Tooth loss also is possible. Children with poor oral health and hygiene may suffer from lower self-esteem and lack appropriate social development as well. And, serious infections can result in hospitalization and surgery.
Only about 6,000 dentists currently specialize in treating pediatric patients, according to Boyd Industries. However, universities have increased the number of special education programs in pediatric dentistry, from 61 in the early 2000s to 77 in 2014. Also, pediatric dentists have seen increases in earnings, with an average of $284,670 in 2015.
“The results of untreated tooth decay and cavities in children are already well documented, and many dentists are beginning to realize how demand for their services will grow as the pediatric segment of the population continues to increase,” said Adrian LaTrace, CEO of Boyd Industries.