When looking for a new dentist, you might come across terms such as general dentistry, family dentistry, and cosmetic dentistry. Even more confusing, some dentists are prosthodontists, endodontists, or orthodontists, etc. Here’s a quick look into the different types of dentists and these dental terms.
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,” according to the ADA. The short version is that dentists are medical professionals who focus on issues of the mouth and surrounding areas.
Types of Dentistry
General dentistry is focused mainly on preventive dental procedures, such as teeth cleanings, diagnostic imaging, and patient counseling. General dentists can treat most dental conditions, and are proficient at nearly all treatments. They might choose to focus on certain areas of dentistry, however.
In America, 80% of all dentists are general dentists, making them the majority of dentists. General dentists provide various types of diagnostic, cosmetic, restorative, and preventive services to ensure the continued oral health of their patients. In order to practice general dentistry, a person needs to receive specialized education and receive a DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) or DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) degree from a recognized dental college.
Family dentistry is a term used when a general dentist provides dental care to all members of a family, regardless of age. Dentists who make family dentistry their focus provide treatment for typical dental issues that can happen to you at any stage of your life.
As opposed to helping the functional aspect of the teeth, gums, and bite, cosmetic dentistry involves procedures that improve the aesthetic appearance of your smile. It primarily involves the look of a smile, such as the shape, color, and size of the teeth. The treatments provided include things such as teeth bridging, reshaping, straightening, whitening, gum lifting, and installing veneers and dental implants.
Different Types of Dentists
Dentists can choose to go beyond general dentistry to become a specialist by receiving additional education and training. Here are what some of these dental specialists do.
Endodontist – Dentists who primarily focus on root canals. They are knowledgable on tooth pulp, nerves, and blood vessels.
Orthodontist – An orthodontist is responsible for treating tooth alignment with braces, clear aligners, headgear, retainers, facemasks, and mouthguards. Help improve bone structure and modify midface and mandibular growth.
Pedodontist – Also called a Pediatric Dentist. These dentists have a focus on children’s dental care, from infants to teenagers, and can provide counseling for the oral habits of children such as thumb-sucking.
Periodontist – This type of specialist deals with the surgical and non-surgical treatment of the gums and soft tissues of the mouth (periodontium).
Oral (and Maxillofacial) Surgeon – Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are responsible for dental implant surgery, tooth extractions, corrective jaw surgery, cleft lip or cleft palate surgery and other surgeries pertaining to the hard and soft tissues of the face.
Prosthodontist – A prosthodontist provides prostheses like dentures, implant replacements, and bridges to replace teeth that are damaged or broken for both functional and cosmetic purposes.
Dental Public Health – This specialization deals with preventing oral disease and promotion of oral health in society, focusing on populations rather than individuals.
Geriatric Dentistry – Geriatric Dentistry, or Geriodontics, focuses on age-related oral problems and treating senior citizens.
As General Dentists, Dr. Sulken and Dr. Kinn offer services that cover most of the needs our patients are likely to have. If you have questions about any of the kinds of treatments we offer or would like to schedule a consultation, contact us today!