General dentists are by far the most common type of dentist. General dentistry encompasses all of the 9 recognized specialties listed below, though each general dentist is allowed to decide which procedures he/she will do.
A pediatric dentist specializes in providing comprehensive dental treatment to children, adolescents and young adults. They have special training in behavior management and development.
Endodontics is the branch of dentistry concerned with the pulp (nerve and blood vessels inside the tooth). When a patient has a toothache, it may be necessary to see an endodontist for a root canal.
Periodontics is the specialty of dentistry that focuses on the supporting structures of teeth, including bone and gum tissue. Periodontists often care for people with gum disease, but they also commonly do implant surgery, bone grafting, and gum grafting.
Most people recognize Orthodontists as the type of dentist who can straighten teeth with braces. However, they also work with oral surgeons and pediatric dentists to ensure proper growth and development.
Prosthodontists are specialists in cosmetic, implant, and reconstructive dentistry. They frequently treat patients who are missing many teeth or have significant dental problems. To learn more about prosthodontics, click here.
Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon
Oral Surgeons are most commonly associated with wisdom tooth extraction. However, they are trained to perform a wide variety surgical procedures related to the head and neck that include: dental implants, bone grafts, soft tissue grafts, trauma, jaw repositioning (orthognathic surgery), and cancer.
Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology
With the increasing use of digital radiographs, MRIs, and CT scans in dentistry, this type of dental specialist is responsible for diagnosing diseases of the head and neck. They often work behind the scenes, but play a vital role in dental care.
An oral pathologist is often involved when a biopsy is required. They are responsible for identification and management of diseases that affect your mouth and face, particularly cancer.
Public Health Dentist
Dental public health is concerned with educating the public on dental health, with applying dental research to improve dental care in the community, and with the administration of group dental programs. These are practitioners often work in a university setting, but their influence is widespread.