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Let’s Talk Pediatric Dentistry with Dr. Adena Borodkin of Golden Valley Kids Pediatric Dentistry in Minneapolis, MN

Did you know that a pediatric dentist is different from a general or family dentist? Pediatric dentists have an additional two to three years of study in residency. In this blog post we’ll review some of what pediatric dentists learn during those two years and the benefits of taking your child to a pediatric dental practice.

To become a dentist, one must first obtain a bachelor’s degree, usually in biological sciences, and then spend four years studying dentistry. Once finished with dental school, pediatric dentists continue their education with a two to three-year program that teaches even more about caring for patients from their first tooth, through their teenage years. The residency program not only provides additional dental skills, but also teaches pediatric dentists important elements of child psychology and development. Dr. Borodkin completed dental school, and her pediatric dentistry training at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. She completed a master’s thesis on dental development in children with cleft lip and palate in conjunction with the Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Clinic at the U of M. Her graduate work was published in the journal Pediatric Dentistry in 2008 (Pediatric Dentistry, Volume 30, Number 5, Sept/Oct 2008, pp.408-413(6)).

Pediatric dental programs start with adapting the skills learned in dental school to provide comprehensive oral care for toddlers, children, and adolescents. It’s important to remember that baby teeth are not just miniature adult teeth, and that you cannot approach children the same way you approach adults when it comes to oral health care. Training in residencies emphasize growth and development, cavity prevention, diet, and behavioral and psychological development from infancy through adulthood. Pediatric dentistry is the only dental specialty that is defined by age, and it also includes those with special health care needs.

The years during which teeth are developing are very important, and most people don’t realize that for baby teeth, this time starts during pregnancy. The dental habits formed can last a lifetime and the issues that a pediatric dentist can foresee and diagnose can prevent future dental issues. When children visit their pediatric dentist regularly, it can save time, money, discomfort, and prevent dental anxiety.

Pediatric dentists are also specially trained to deal with the emotions of children visiting their practice. Child development and child psychology classes can help manage pre-treatment fear and anxiety in an age appropriate manner. Pediatric dental residents learn how to treat children with special health care needs, and how to safely administer different forms of anesthesia.

To further their education even more, many pediatric dentists will also become Diplomates of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. This is a “volunteer examination process that continually validates [a pediatric dentist’s] knowledge, skills, and experience” after successful graduation from an accredited pediatric dental residency. You can find out if your dentist is a Diplomate of the ABPD by searching their online roster (

Dr. Borodkin is proud to have completed all of this training and be a board-certified pediatric dentist. She is so happy to be seeing happy smiles at Golden Valley Kids Pediatric Dentistry in Golden Valley, MN!