Wait – How Many Kinds of Dentists?

prep for tooth extraction

We’ve all been to a general dentist for cleanings and routine exams. And many of us have heard of or gone to other oral health specialists like the orthodontist for braces or an oral surgeon for wisdom tooth removal. But did you know there are 5 other kinds of dental specializations? It only makes sense – the face, jaw and neck is a complicated and intricate machine, not to mention comprised of some of the most important parts of our body.

We’re an oral and maxillofacial surgery practice (there’s a hint to one of the final 5!), so we specialize mostly in the teeth, gums, jaw, and sinuses. But what do all the other guys do? Here’s a rundown of the 8 different oral health doctors and what they do:

1. General Dentist

Accounting for 80% of all dental specialists, general dentists offer everything from cleanings, exams and x-rays, to simple tooth extractions, to cavity fillings, bonding and bridges. General dentists are required to complete dental school.

2. Orthodontist

Orthodontists deal with misalignments in your teeth and jaws, correcting crooked, misplaced and impacted teeth, as well as bite issues, with various oral installations meant to move bones and teeth into the correct position over time. They’re required to do 3 years of residency after dental school.

3. Oral Surgeon

Surgeons who specialize in pathologies of the face, mouth and jaw. They perform procedures like wisdom tooth extractions, dental implant surgeries, bone and gum grafting, sinus lifts, and more. Oral surgeons are required to do 4-6 years of residency training after dental school.

4. Periodontist

This specialist deals with the supporting tissue structures of upper and lower jaw, especially the gums. They prevent and treat the progression of gum disease to periodontitis. Periodontists are required to do a 3-year residency post-dental school.

5. Endodontist

Endodontists are the salvage specialists of the dental world. They focus in saving damaged teeth to avoid having to remove them, and restoring smiles with a focus in cosmetic dentistry. They’re required to do 2-3 years of post-dental school residency training.

6. Maxillofacial Surgeon

Maxillofacial surgeons and oral surgeons overlap significantly in specialties (our surgeon is both!). However, maxillofacial specialists do have a bit more specialized knowledge, especially in regard to surgically correcting facial trauma. They’re required to do a 4-6-year residency after dental school.

7. Prosthdontist

Prosthodontists specialize in mouth restoration, dealing with issues like extracting decayed teeth and replacing lost teeth, with a primary focus on oral function. They’re required to do 3 years of residency post-dental school.

8. Pedodontist

Specializing in the oral health of children, pedodontists are also known as pediatric dentists or pediatric oral surgeons (which our surgeon is also trained for!). They perform anything from routine cleanings, to tooth extractions, to correcting slight facial trauma. 3 years of post-dental school residency training is required to become a specialist in dentistry for children.

Think you might need one or more of these services to restore your smile, replace missing teeth, supplement lost bone, or another issue you need corrected? Contact our office for a consultation with our oral surgeon.

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