Do you need a dentist but are not sure what kind of dentist? Let us break down the differences between dental specializations for you.
Board-certified dentists work and, most times, own a private general dental practice. They typically collaborate with dental technicians, hygienists, and sometimes dental therapists. Since oral health contributes to your overall health, visiting the dentist once a year is essential. Patients attend a general practice for routine cleanings, examinations, and maintenance education.
Educating children and young adults on oral hygiene is the responsibility of a Pediatric Dentist. These dentists not only perform routine exams but also help prevent serious problems by detecting abnormalities in children's growth and development.
Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics
Orthodontics focuses on the alignment of jaws and teeth. Orthodontists do require more education than general dentists. Braces, retainers, and wires are standard treatments administered by Orthodontists. Orthodontia's specialty, Dentofacial Orthodontics, concentrates on facial growth abnormalities.
The dental specialty that concentrates exclusively on the health of gums and supporting tissues is what we call Periodontics. A Periodontist attends to patients referred by their general dentist due to advanced gum disease. To become a Periodontist, you will need to complete additional education covering the treatment of periodontal disease and the placement, maintenance, and repair of dental implants.
Endodontics, a branch of dentistry that focuses primarily on the preservation and restoration of teeth, is concerned with the tissue encompassing the root. Additional training is required for Endodontists to pinpoint tooth pain and initiate treatment. Endodontists can also perform intricate procedures on injured or ill-maintained teeth.
Prosthodontics, aka prosthetic dentistry, focuses on replacing teeth to restore function and oral health. These dentists also provide cosmetic treatments, such as veneers, to improve one's appearance. Prosthodontists are very proficient in surgically placing crowns or dentures as a replacement.
Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology
Dentists specializing in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology can diagnose and treat diseases affecting the mouth and other interconnected structures. Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology can also be called Head and Neck Pathology. An Oral and Maxillofacial Pathologist will assess not only clinical but lifestyle factors to determine the reason and impact of the diseased area.
Oral & Maxillofacial Radiology
Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology involves the interpretation of dental scans such as CT and MRI to detect diseases or other head, mouth, and face irregularities. You can find Oral and Maxillofacial Radiologists in the education sector as well as in private practices.
Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
Dentists specializing in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery operate to repair face, neck, jaw, and mouth injuries and diseases. The training process to become an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon is lengthy due to the intricacies of their procedures.
Whether the dental procedure requires anesthesia or a patient needs to be calmed, a Dentist Anesthesiologist is there to help. Their training concentrates on the maintenance of pain; therefore, they can be found in surgical centers and private practices.
Dental Public Health
Dentists certified in Dental Public Health are working to improve the community's oral health rather than treating individuals and their diseases. These skilled dentists evaluate dental situations as they relate to the population and determine if the situation should be considered a public health concern.