Over the years, the word ‘dentist’ has become an umbrella term for all dental care practitioners. Still, it’s important to know that there are different types of dentists in the medical field. Each one of them provides a specific set of services for various dental problems.
Just like there are different types of doctors, the following are the types of dentists you will encounter:
General dentists often have the titles DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) and DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery). These dentists have earned their doctorate, which is additional four years of study after their undergraduate degree.
Usually, DMD and DDS dentists studied the same thing. They only differ on the schools they attended as well as their preference.
Both of these dentists conduct general dental care treatments. Some of them are cavity fillings, root canals, crowns, and other preventative care.
Overall, general dentistry is the most common practice in the field. You can easily find them in a local clinic in your area.
Still, general dentists can acquire further studies to be specialists, which leads us to the next type.
You’ll need a dental specialist if your condition requires special treatment. Usually, general dentists will refer you to a specialist for various procedures. Here are the different types of dental specialists:
Pediatric dentists. These dentists exclusively provide dental care for children. However, unlike other dentists, pedodontists also study child psychology as part of their expertise.
Orthodontists. Orthodontists focus on correcting teeth and jaw misalignments. They are the ones licensed to provide braces, retainers, and other corrective treatments. Nevertheless, they can also provide the services a general dentist performs.
Endodontist. This practitioner is trained to perform root canals and other procedures involving the inside of the teeth. Their name came from the word ‘endo’, which means inside.
Periodontist. A periodontist works on maintaining gum health and other structures of the teeth. They are the experts in treating periodontal disease. Aside from that, periodontists can also provide dental implants to replace missing teeth.
Prosthodontist. If prosthetists provide artificial limbs, prosthodontists specialize in replacing lost or damaged teeth with artificial materials. Their job is to improve the aesthetic of the teeth, so you’ll have a confident smile. In addition, prosthodontists can provide bridges, dentures, implants, and more.
Oral surgeon. These surgeons specialize in the extraction of teeth and other surgical procedures in the mouth. This includes, but is not limited to, wisdom teeth, dental implants, and even biopsy if a general dentist suspects a suspicious condition.
Hospital dentists. Hospital dentists can be any of the specialists above. The difference is that they work in hospitals to complement the treatments other medical practitioners perform. They also provide specialist advice on complicated dental situations related to other conditions.
By identifying the different types of dentists, you’ll know who to look for. Nevertheless, your general dentist can refer you to specialists if need be. The goal here is to receive the best dental care to keep your teeth, gums, and jaw healthy. Just remember that you should only trust licensed dentists at all times.