When we talk about our oral health, for most of us, the only word we need to know is ‘dentist.’ You must understand that while a dentist’s goal is to take care of our oral health, not every dentist specializes in the same area.
General practitioner dentists (GDP) provide us with care for many of the basic oral hygiene needs. However, there are cases when a GDP would send you to a highly trained dentist specialist to receive advanced treatment.
According to dentists at North Scottsdale Dentistry, they believe that patients should understand the different dentist specialties. Therefore, we have taken it upon ourselves to compile a list of the dentist specialties in the United States.
What is a Dentist Specialty?
The American Dental Association (ADA) defines dentist specialty as an area within the medical field of dentistry that has received recognition from the National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards after satisfying the required requirements.
As of today, there are 12 dental specialties in the United States.
Types of Dental Specialties
- Prosthodontics: It’s a dentistry branch that deals with the restoration and aesthetic replacement of damaged or missing teeth using artificial dental devices. Specialists in this field are known as prosthodontists. Some of the clinical situations they manage include dentures, bridges, tooth wear, implants, and crowns.
- Periodontics: It’s a branch of dentistry that deals with inflammatory diseases that affect the bones and gums that support your teeth. Specialists in this field are referred to as periodontists. Their role is to help diagnose, prevent, and treat gum diseases. Periodontists are capable of performing non-surgery and surgery procedures. The most common type of diseases they handle includes gingivitis and periodontitis.
- Pediatric Dentistry: It’s an aged-defined specialty that provides oral health care to infants and children through adolescence. Pediatric dentists are usually tasked with taking care of children’s mouths, gums, and teeth through the different childhood stages.
- Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics: Orthodontics deals with the management of teeth movement. In comparison, dentofacial orthopedics deal with the guidance of facial development and growth. Since facial development and growth occur during childhood, most candidates for dentofacial orthopedics therapy are usually children. Adults can also receive the procedure; however, in most cases, it requires surgery.
- Orofacial Pain: It’s a term that refers to the diagnosis, management, and treatment of painful sensations around the bones, muscles, and joints of our mouths and faces. Some of the symptoms associated with orofacial pain include lock-jaw, deep aches in the jaw, sharp pain around the eyes, and headaches when swallowing, eating, or speaking.
- Oral Medicine: It deals with the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of medical disorders that affect the oral and maxillofacial structures (face, lips, jaws, mouth, gums, soft and hard palates, and tongue.
- Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery: It’s a dentistry specialty that deals with the surgical treatment and diagnosis of diseases, defects, and injuries involving a patient’s oral and maxillofacial structures. Some of the surgeries handled by specialists in this area include dental implant surgery, corrective jaw surgery, facial cosmetic surgery, palate and cleft lip surgery, and wisdom teeth extraction.
- Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology: Focuses on the production and interpretation of X-rays, MRI, CBCT, and CT scans to determine patients’ diagnosis and treatment plan. The information derived by oral and maxillofacial radiologists is used to treat and manage disorders affecting your face, mouth, neck, or jaws.
- Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology: It’s a lesser-known branch of dentistry that deals with diagnosing oral health problems affecting the mouth, neck, head, and maxillofacial features. For an oral and maxillofacial pathologist to determine what is wrong with you, they use bone and soft tissue biopsies and information derived from X-ray results and dental examinations.
- Endodontics: It’s a branch of dentistry that deals with the inside of a tooth, also referred to as the tooth pulp, as well as the tissues connected to the tooth’s root. Endodontists help diagnose, manage, and treat tooth diseases, infections, and pain. They can also perform root canals which help to save a decaying tooth.
- Dental Public Health: It’s a dentistry branch that takes advantage of societal efforts to promote and control oral disease, improve quality of life, and promote overall oral health care. The purpose of dental public health is to serve the community as the patent instead of dealing with one individual.The second purpose is to reduce oral healthcare inequalities.
- Dental Anesthesiology: The final dentistry branch deals with the art of monitoring and administering anesthesia to manage a patient’s overall health, anxiety, and pain levels during dental surgery procedures. The specialty aims to promote the welfare and safety of all dental patients.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comment section below.