Dental Specialties at a Glance

There are nine dental specialties that are recognized by the American Dental Association’s Council on Dental Education and Licensure. Below is a brief overview of each specialty and required postgraduate training.

  1. Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics: The specialty of orthodontics is concerned with the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of malocclusions (improper bite) caused by improper positioning of the teeth, misalignment of the jaw, or inadequate jaw size.

  2. Endodontics: Endodontists specialize in diagnosing and treating diseases or injuries to the tissue inside of the tooth (the nerves and the pulp) or the tissues immediately surrounding the root of the tooth. A root canal is a common endodontic procedure.

  3. Periodontics: Periodontists deal with the supporting structures of the teeth (gingival tissues, alveolar bone, cementum, and periodontal ligament). They treat patients with more severe oral diseases who often have a complex set of medical needs. Periodontists also perform dental implants and cosmetic periodontal surgeries, such as gum contouring surgery.

  4. Prosthodontics: Prosthodontists specialize in the restoration or replacement of natural teeth and/or oral and maxillofacial tissues with fixed or removable dental prosthetics such as implants, bridges, dentures.

  5. Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology: An oral pathologist studies oral diseases affecting the mouth, jaw, some facial muscles, perioral skin, and even salivary glands. They typically do not work with patients, and instead analyze biopsies and consult with physicians or dentists in diagnosing, treating, and managing diseases that manifest orally.

  6. Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology: An Oral and Maxillofacial Radiologist (OMR) specializes  in the acquisition and interpretation of radiographic images used in diagnosing conditions affecting the oral and maxillofacial region.

  7. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery: Oral and maxillofacial surgeons diagnose and treat a broad range of diseases, defects, and traumas to the face, jaws, mouth, and teeth, as well as the head and neck.

  8. Pediatric Dentistry: Pediatric dentists have an advanced understanding of the particular dental needs of children, and treat patients from childbirth to adolescence.

  9. Dental Public Health: Those who work in the field of Dental Public Health design dental health programs and policies for communities at large.

You can read the ADA’s official definitions of each specialty here.

At Kool Smiles, our general dentists and specialists make a difference in the lives of families everyday, serving kids and parents who might otherwise be unable to find affordable dental care. Take your career in a meaningful direction and apply to Kool Smiles today!