What kind of dentist are you looking for?
A General Dentist is a one who can provide the full range of dental and oral health care services
and treatments available. A general dentist may refer you to a specialist in one of nine
These specialties are:
Endodontics: Endodontists perform “root canals.” These are specialists in the area of dentistry
which is concerned with the morphology, physiology and pathology of the human dental pulp and
periradicular tissues. Its study and practice encompass the basic and clinical sciences including
biology of the normal pulp, the etiology, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases and
injuries of the pulp and associated periradicular conditions.
Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics: Orthodontists provide “braces.” Orthodontics and
dentofacial orthopedics is the dental specialty that includes the diagnosis, prevention,
interception, and correction of malocclusion, as well as neuromuscular and skeletal abnormalities
of the developing or mature orofacial structures.
Pediatric Dentistry: Pediatric Dentistry is an age-defined specialty that provides both primary
and comprehensive preventive and therapeutic oral health care for infants and children through
adolescence, including those with special health care needs.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery/oral surgeon: Oral and maxillofacial surgery is the specialty of
dentistry which includes the diagnosis, surgical and adjunctive treatment of diseases, injuries and
defects involving both the functional and esthetic aspects of the hard and soft tissues of the oral
and maxillofacial region.
Periodontics: Periodontics is that specialty of dentistry which encompasses the prevention,
diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the supporting and surrounding tissues of the teeth
(gums) or their substitutes and the maintenance of the health, function and esthetics of these
structures and tissues.
Prosthodontics: Prosthodontics is the dental specialty pertaining to the diagnosis, treatment
planning, rehabilitation and maintenance of the oral function, comfort, appearance and health of
patients with clinical conditions associated with missing or deficient teeth and/or oral and
maxillofacial tissues using biocompatible substitutes (False teeth).
Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology: Oral pathology is the specialty of dentistry and discipline of
pathology that deals with the nature, identification, and management of diseases affecting the
oral and maxillofacial regions. It is a science that investigates the causes, processes, and effects
of these diseases. The practice of oral pathology includes research and diagnosis of diseases
using clinical, radiographic, microscopic, biochemical, or other examinations.
Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology: Oral and maxillofacial radiology is the specialty of dentistry
and discipline of radiology concerned with the production and interpretation of images and data
produced by all modalities of radiant energy that are used for the diagnosis and management of
diseases, disorders and conditions of the oral and maxillofacial region.
Dental Public Health: Dental public health is the science and art of preventing and controlling
dental diseases and promoting dental health through organized community efforts. It is that form
of dental practice which serves the community as a patient rather than the individual. It is
concerned with the dental health education of the public, with applied dental research, and with
the administration of group dental care programs as well as the prevention and control of dental
diseases on a community basis.
Dentistry is defined as the evaluation, diagnosis, prevention and/or treatment (nonsurgical,
surgical or related procedures) of diseases, disorders and/or conditions of the oral cavity,
maxillofacial area and/or the adjacent and associated structures and their impact on the human
body; provided by a dentist, within the scope of his/her education, training and experience, in
accordance with the ethics of the profession and applicable law.
All dentists have one of two degrees:
DDS—Doctor of Dental Surgery
DMD—Doctor of Dental Medicine
The “degree” is awarded upon graduation from dental school to become a general dentist. There
is no difference between the two degrees; dentists who have a DMD or DDS have the same
education. Universities have the prerogative to determine what degree is awarded. Both degrees
use the same curriculum requirements set by the American Dental Association's Commission on
Dental Accreditation. Generally, three or more years of undergraduate education plus four years
of dental school is required to graduate and become a general dentist. State licensing boards
accept either degree as equivalent, and both degrees allow licensed individuals to practice the
same scope of general dentistry. Additional post-graduate training is required to become a dental
specialist, such as an orthodontist, periodontist or oral and maxillofacial surgeon.