There are many areas of specialty in dentistry. A general dentist is like a family practitioner in medicine. He/she can treat many areas while a specialist typically concentrates on a specific area. There are several specialties in dentistry. Most general dentists can perform specialty treatment, referring more complicated treatment to a specialist.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon (OMS): Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are dentists or physicians who have completed a 4-7 year surgical residency, which prepares them to do a wide range of procedures including surgery of both the bones and soft tissues of the face, mouth and neck.
Periodontist: Periodontists are dentists who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of the gum and bone which support teeth. They devote their time, energy and skill to helping patients care for their gums. They provide preventive and surgical treatment of both soft and hard tissues including grafts and dental implants. Your dentist may determine that your gums and bone require special attention.
Endodontist: The Endodontist diagnoses and treats diseases, injuries and abnormalities of dental pulps and pathologic conditions involving the roots and surrounding tissues. They may prescribe treatment to prevent tooth loss. This usually involves a root canal treatment or retreatment and sometimes endodontic surgery.
Prosthodontist: The Prosthodontist examines and diagnoses disabilities caused by loss of teeth and supporting structures. They formulate and execute treatment plans for the construction of corrective prostheses to restore proper function and esthetics of the mouth, face, and jaw. A Prosthodontist is usually involved with extensive restoration and reconstruction.
Pediatric Dentist: Pediatric training focuses on management and treatment of a child’s developing teeth, physical growth and development of the jaws, and the special needs of children in dentistry. A Pediatric Dentist treats only children (usually up to about 12 years old). Some children are more cooperative and comfortable in an environment where children are the only focus. If your child has special needs, care from a pediatric dentist should be considered.
Orthodontist: An Orthodontist prevents and treats tooth position problems and jaw growth problems in both adults and children. Using braces, retainers, and other devices, an Orthodontist helps straighten a person’s teeth and corrects the way the jaws line up. Your dentist might recommend seeing an Orthodontist to evaluate a problem with your teeth position or jaw relationship.