When it comes to looking for a dentist, you might encounter phrases such as general, family, and cosmetic dentistry. To add to the confusion, dentists can be periodontists, orthodontists, or endodontists, etc. This blog takes a quick look at these dental terms and the different types of dentists.
Dentistry is “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,” as defined by American Dental Association (ADA). Basically, dentists are medical professionals who specialize in issues of the mouth and the adjacent areas.
The Different Types of Dentistry
General dentistry focuses mainly on preventive dental procedures, such as cleanings, diagnosis, x-rays, and patient counseling. General dentists can provide treatment for the majority of conditions, and are proficient at nearly all treatments. They could choose to focus on one particular area of dentistry.
In the US, 80% of all dentists are general dentists, making them the majority. General dentists provide a range of diagnostic, cosmetic, preventive, and restorative services to ensure the continued oral health of their patients. In order to become a general dentist, a person must receive specialized education and earn the DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) or DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) degree from a dental college.
The term family dentistry is used to describe when dental care is provided to all members of a family, whatever their age is. These general dentists provide treatment for common dental ailments which may affect you during any point in your life.
Rather than helping the functionality of the teeth, gums, and bite, cosmetic dentistry entails cosmetic procedures which improve the appearance of a person’s smile. It mainly involves the aesthetics of a smile, including the shape, color, and size of the teeth. The treatments provided include teeth whitening, bridging, reshaping, straightening, gum lifting, and installing veneers and dental implants.
Different Types of Dentists
A dentist who chooses to take additional education and training can become specialists. Below are what some of these specialists do.
Endodontist – Specialists in root canal therapy. Knowledgable on blood vessels, tooth pulp, and nerves.
Orthodontist – These dentists are responsible for addressing tooth alignment with braces, headgear, mouthguards, clear aligners, retainers, and facemasks. Orthodontists help modify midface and mandibular growth and improve bone structure.
Pedodontist or Pediatric Dentist – These specialists focus their dentistry on children, from newborns to teenagers. They provide counseling for habits such as thumb-sucking.
Periodontist – Deal with the surgical and non-surgical treatment of the soft tissues of the mouth (periodontium) such as the gums.
Oral Surgeon – Oral surgeons are responsible for corrective jaw surgery, tooth extractions, dental implant surgery, cleft lip or cleft palate surgery and additional surgeries pertaining to the soft and hard tissues of the face.
Prosthodontist – This dental specialist provides oral prostheses, including bridges, implants, and dentures to replace teeth that are broken or damaged for both cosmetic and functional purposes.
Dental Public Health – This area of specialization deals with promoting oral health and preventing oral disease in society, focusing on populations instead of individual patients.
Geriatric Dentistry – Geriatric Dentistry, or Geriodontics, focuses on treating senior citizens and age-related oral diseases.
The General Dentists at Olney Dental Center are qualified to provide you and your family with a range of dental treatments, so give us a call to schedule your next appointment!