When you think of a dentist, chances are, you think of a general family dentists who performs your regular cleanings and checkups. But that is just one specialty in the field of dentistry. From performing complicated oral surgeries to fixing misaligned teeth to creating dentures and cosmetic dental fixtures, there are many types of dentists who are passionate about helping you achieve the best oral health.
Seven Types of Dentists
A general dentist takes care of your mouth on a regular basis. General dentists monitor your oral health and are able to help guide you if you need extensive dental surgery, orthodonture, or dentures. Their work primarily revolves around preventative oral care. This includes:
- Dental cleanings
- Patient education
- Repairing cracked or chipped teeth
- Teeth whitening
Orthodontists specialize in facial and dental irregularities. Typically known as dentists who install braces, orthodontists’ care extends much further. They are responsible for correcting misaligned teeth, jaw bones, and facial structures. Sometimes this includes designing custom headgear, retainers, facemasks, Invisalign®, or other appliances to correct your smile.
Endodontists specialize in endodontic therapy which is used to maintain the teeth. This type of dental specialists most commonly performs root canals. Root canals are necessary when the inside of the tooth (the pulp) becomes damaged, inflamed, or rotten through injury or decay and needs to be removed.
A pedodontist (or pediatric dentist) specializes in dental care for children. They are similar to general dentists, but are trained to handle behavioural issues while treating children and adolescents. Children require more hands-on care when it comes to dentistry, since they have not yet established a healthy oral care routine.
5. Oral Pathologist
Oral pathologists study the different causes of diseases that occur in the mouth that affect the jaw, lips, teeth, and cheek structures. If you have abnormal coloring on your gums or growths inside your mouth that are visible on an X-ray, pathologists will often biopsy the affected area and test for underlying diseases or conditions that are harmful. If the structures of your mouth are infected, damaged, or diseased, the rest of your body can suffer.
6. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons perform any type of surgery that involve the mouth. Oral surgeons lay the groundwork for future dental work, as they improve bone structures, teeth, and other cosmetic features that are required before any other dental procedures can occur.
Oral surgeons perform these types of procedures:
- Tooth extractions
- Reconstructive surgeries
- Cleft palate or cleft lip surgeries
- Tissue extractions
- Facial infections
- Sleep apnea treatments
- Surgical jaw corrections
Periodontists focus on preventing, diagnosing, and treating various gum diseases and conditions. If you notice gum sensitivity or bleeding during brushing and flossing, a periodontist will help diagnose and treat your issue. They are also responsible for treating extreme gum disease (periodontal disease), installing dental implants, and performing cosmetic skin grafting on gums. Periodontists often work with general dentists on creating comprehensive prevention and treatments plans for their patients.