Are You Confused by the Different Types of Dentists and Dentistry?

When you need dental work done, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by phrases like family, cosmetic, and general dentistry. Dentists may be endodontists, periodontists, orthodontists, or prosthodontists, etc., but do you know what these terms mean? Here’s a quick look at the different types of dentists.

The ADA defines dentistry 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.” In short, dentists are medical practitioners that focus on medical issues of the mouth and surrounding areas.

The Different Types of Dentistry

General Dentistry

General dentistry is focused mainly on preventive dental procedures, such as diagnosis, x-rays, cleanings, and patient counseling. General dentists can treat most conditions, and have proficiency with most all treatments. A general dentist could choose to focus on a single area of dentistry, however.

Most dentists are general dentists. They make up 80% of the dentists in the USA. General dentists provide various types of diagnostic, cosmetic, restorative, and preventive services to provide their patients with good oral health. In order to become a general dentist, one needs to get specialized education to receive the Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from a recognized dental college.

Family Dentistry

The term family dentistry is used for when a general dentist provides dental care to all members of a family, regardless of age. These general dentists provide treatment for common dental ailments that can affect you during any point in your life.

Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic dentistry involves procedures which improve the aesthetics of a person’s smile, instead of addressing the functionality of the teeth and gums. It mainly deals with improving the aesthetics of a smile, including the shape, color, and size of the teeth. The treatments provided include things such as teeth whitening, reshaping, straightening, bridging, gum lifting, installing dental implants and veneers.

Types of Dentists

A dentist who goes beyond general dentistry and receives additional training and education can become specialists. Below we cover what some of these dental specialists do.

Endodontist – Dentists who primarily focus on root canals. They are knowledgable on nerves, tooth pulp, and blood vessels.

Orthodontist – Responsible for adjusting the alignment of teeth with braces, headgear, mouthguards, clear aligners, retainers, and facemasks. Help improve bone structure and modify midface and mandibular growth.

Pediatric Dentist – Also known as a Pedodontist. Pediatric Dentists have a focus on children’s dental care, from babies to teenagers. They can provide counseling for children’s habits like thumb-sucking.

Periodontist – Specialists who deal primarily with the non-surgical and surgical treatment of the soft tissues of the mouth (periodontium) such as the gums.

Oral Surgeon – Oral surgeons are responsible for dental implant surgery, corrective jaw surgery, cleft lip or cleft palate surgery, tooth extractions as well as additional surgeries of hard and soft tissues of the face.

Prosthodontist – A prosthodontist replaces broken or damaged teeth for cosmetic and functional reasons, with oral prostheses like implant replacements, bridges, and dentures.

Dental Public Health – This dental specialization addresses the promotion of oral health and the prevention of oral disease in society, focusing on populations instead of individual people.

Geriodontics – Geriodontics, or Geriatric Dentistry, focuses on treating seniors and oral problems related to age.

Dr. Hodges and Dr. Sheppard at Northeast Texas Periodontal Specialists are periodontists, meaning they specialize in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of gum disease. Their training also makes them excellent choices for dental implant placement and treatment for bone loss.

If you have any questions about any of the services we provide, give us a call or schedule an appointment online!