Paediatric dentistry focuses on the growth and development of children’s teeth, on addressing any emerging problems and on preventing decay rather than treating it after it happens.
Paediatric dentistry focuses on the growth and
development of children’s teeth, on addressing any
emerging problems and on preventing decay rather than
treating it after it happens.
In children’s dentistry, there is certainly a place for general dentists and dental therapists, whose role includes attending for checkups, routine cleans, fissure sealants and small cavities. However, there may also be good reasons to see or be referred to a paediatric specialist also known as a paedodontist.
One reason is to simply know you are consulting the highest qualified clinician available. Other reasons may be if your child suffers from severe overcrowding of their teeth, any oral injury, problems with taking care of their own dental hygiene at home, visible decay at a young age (2, 3 or 4), more than one serious cavity, severe toothache, swelling of the gums or cheeks, or fear of the dentist or any other special needs in the behavioural arena.
Our paediatric dentist often works in seamless collaboration with our specialist orthodontists in cases where correction to the position of the teeth is required.
To qualify as a registered specialist paedodontist in Australia, practicioners must first have the same degree as a general dentist, with honours. They then study for a further three to four years for a Masters degree or equivalent specific training in children’s dentistry, making them eligible to apply for registration with the Dental Board of Australia as a specialist paedodontist. In addition, they must be good at establishing children’s trust in a friendly environment and a large part of their skill set involves understanding child psychology.
Never assume that a paedodontist is a registered specialist; always check on the website of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).
Healthy children’s teeth are the healthy adult teeth of the future and that’s what gives paediatric dentists such a big responsibility. A highly trained paedodontist can also make a significant difference to your child’s first experience of dental treatment – an experience that will stay with them for the rest of their life.
Our specialist paedodontists are Dr Charmaine Hall and Dr Heshani Kellapatha.
You don’t need a referral to see our paedodontist. Please call us on (03) 9650 2726 to discuss your needs and make an appointment. We look forward to being of service to you.
Dr Charmaine Hall, BDSc (Melb), DClinDent (Melb) graduated with a Bachelor of Dental Science from University of Melbourne in 2001, and, since completing her doctorate in Clinical Paediatric Dentistry at the Melbourne Dental School has worked as both a registrar and a fellow at the Royal Children’s Hospital of Melbourne.
As a specialist paediatric dentist, Dr Hall provides comprehensive care, with special interests in inherited and acquired developmental conditions, dental trauma, dental treatment for medically compromised children and management of oral disease during early childhood (including early childhood caries).
Dr Hall is a member of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Paediatric Dentistry, the Australasian Academy of Paediatric Dentistry and the Australian Dental Association, and is on the Advisory Committee for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Dr Heshani Kellapatha BDS (Adel), BScDent (Hons), DClinDent (Melb) is a graduate of The University of Adelaide, where she obtained a Bachelor of Dental Surgery with Honours, and The University of Melbourne, where she completed her Doctorate of Clinical Dentistry in Paediatric Dentistry.
Having spent several years working in rural Victoria, Heshani was employed by the Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne as a general dentist. She has trained in all areas of paediatric dentistry, and has a particular interest in the care of medically compromised patients, dental trauma and the management of dental anomalies.
Heshani is currently involved in teaching dental students at the University of Melbourne and is a member of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Paediatric Dentistry, the Australasian Academy of Paediatric Dentistry and the Australian Dental Association.
Children’s Dentistry – Specialist Care