Jan 24, 2021
Hello all! :)
I am currently a 3rd year dental student and have recently started getting into the idea of doing a pediatric residency. My original plan was to graduate as a GP and work at a practice that was advertised as a pediatric office (even if it wasn't run by a pedodontist.) I always knew I wanted to work with kids, there was no question about that but as far as specializing goes, I wasn't planning on it. About a week ago I was speaking to a dentist at my school and he basically told me I might as well specialize and changed my outlook on it. I used to think you can work as a GP and do the same thing as a pedodontist besides taking patients into the OR. Someone once told me that "just take a few CE courses and you'll be good to go". I also heard that you can basically charge pediatric specialty prices because you are in control of your pricing, the biggest difference between a specialty practice and a GP practice would be insurance.

I have a few questions I would love to get insight on because now I am completely lost and feel like even if I wanted to specialize it would be too late.

1. My resume would probably not be strong enough because I have a cumulative GPA of 3.2. I have not done any research. I am in a few clubs such as the pediatric club, business club and endo club but I am not that involved. I attend the meetings and that's basically it especially because of COVID. I am in ASDA and was in charge of the lunch and learns my second year and now I am a chair in the Health and wellness team. I have messed up a few times in clinic that I am scared it will hold me back from applying for residencies. I had to get a clinical retraining for a root canal perforation that I did on my first RCT. I am very confident in my dental skills but this was a mistake I learned massively from. I am not sure if those mistakes will be held against me in when I am trying to get letters of recommendations. But, if there is anything I am confident it in life, it's my genuine love for kids and how it's my heart's desire to work with them. I've heard about externships being a good idea but I feel like I am too late to do them. Like I said, I am in my 3rd year. I graduate May of 2022 and it is already January 2021. I believe the deadline for applying for residencies is in October.
I have heard of people doing GPR for 1 year to boost their resumes but in all honesty, I am not interested in that and prefer to try and do as much as I can in my time left in dental school. What do you guys think of my resume? Do I even stand a chance?

2. I am still confused about what the difference would be between a pedodontist and a GP working solely with kids. I mentioned before what I thought the difference once but if someone can explain to me other aspects? I know money shouldn't be a driving factor for choosing to specialize or not but in my case it kind of is. Is it worth specializing? Will I make more if I specialize?

If anyone can help me out or give me any advice I would greatly appreciate it. Any advice is better than no advice. I've been feeling so lost and not sure what I want to do. Thank you all so so so much.


5+ Year Member
Jun 7, 2015
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  1. Dental Student
Do you have a pediatric residency at your school? Or any D4s that matched pedo? Or last resort just some pediatric dentists? Start with talking to them.

I will attempt to address some things here. Firstly no amount of CE courses will ever be equivalent to a residency, period. Pediatric dentists are significantly better at managing peds pts than average GPs.

I do not think perfing an RCT means you are bad at clinic, and I strongly believe this will have zero impact on your ability to get rec letters etc and get in. It is only January, and the app cycle opens in July. you have PLENTY of time to do externships, even do some research in PEDs, and start working on your rec letters.

You will generally make more as a specialist in the vast majority of cases. E.g. most beginner associate positions are 5-600$/day and a percent of production. Most peds right out of residency are 1000$/day just to start with.

Anyways you most definitely have the chance to build a strong app and apply. Start by reaching out to any D4s who just found out they matched pedo last week at your school. Ask them what they did and go from there. you can do this!
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7+ Year Member
May 3, 2013
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I'm a general dentist who works at a pediatric office. The two differences I noticed is that you can't advertise yourself as a pediatric dentist although none of my patients have ever asked me if I was a pediatric dentist. Second pediatric dentists in my area that get hired on make 35% per procedure whereas I make 30% as an associate because I'm not specialized. It's all based on experience. After working 2 years at a pediatric office I knew more about treating pediatric patients than the new pediatric grad. She and the assistants both told me she had to ask the assistants to help her learn to do procedures.
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