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What Are the Different Kinds of Dentists? | Our Dental Blog

What Are the Different Kinds of Dentists?

Feb 6 2020

When looking for a new dentist, you may encounter phrases such as general, family, or cosmetic dentistry. Some dentists are orthodontists, endodontists, or periodontists, etc. This blog takes a quick look at these dental terms and the different types of dentists.

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 American Dental Association. The short version is that dentists are practitioners who specialize in medical problems of the mouth and adjacent areas.

Types of Dentistry

General Dentistry

General dentistry focuses primarily on preventive procedures, including teeth cleanings, diagnosis, x-rays, and patient counseling. General dentists can provide treatment for the majority of dental conditions, and have proficiency with nearly all treatments. Some general dentists may decide to focus on certain areas of dentistry.

General dentists are the most common type of dentist. They make up 80% of the dentists in America. General dentists provide a range of diagnostic, preventive, restorative, and cosmetic services to maintain the oral health of their patients. In order to become a general dentist one needs to get specialized education and earn the DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) degree from a dental college.

Family Dentistry

Family dentistry is a term used for when a dentist provides dental care to family members of all ages. General dentists who make family dentistry their focus provide treatment for typical dental conditions that may happen to you at any time of your life.

Cosmetic Dentistry

Instead of improving the functional aspect of the teeth, gums, and bite, cosmetic dentistry involves procedures to improve the aesthetic appearance of a person's smile. It primarily involves the aesthetics of a smile, such as the size, color, and shape of teeth. Cosmetic dental treatments include things like teeth reshaping, straightening, whitening, bridging, gum lifting, installing veneers and implants.

Different Types of Dentists

A dentist who chooses to go beyond general dentistry and take additional education and training can become a specialist. Here we briefly touch on what these specialists do.

Endodontist – Specialists in root canal therapy. They are knowledgable on nerves, tooth pulp, and blood vessels.

Orthodontist – Orthodontists are responsible for addressing tooth alignment with braces, headgear, retainers, facemasks, mouthguards, and clear aligners. They help improve bone structure and modify midface and mandibular growth.

Pedodontist or Pediatric Dentist - This type of dentist is a dental care provider for children, from newborns to teenagers, and can provide counseling for children's habits like thumb-sucking.

Periodontist - Deal with the gums and soft tissues of the mouth (periodontium) through both surgical and non-surgical treatment.

Oral Surgeon - Oral surgeons focus on the soft and hard tissues of the face, performing surgeries such as dental implant surgery, corrective jaw surgery, cleft lip or cleft palate surgery, and tooth extractions.

Prosthodontist – This specialist provides oral prostheses such as implants, bridges, and dentures to replace damaged or broken teeth for functional and cosmetic reasons.

(DPH) Dental Public Health - This area of specialization promotes oral health and oral disease prevention, focusing on populations instead of individual people.

Geriodontics – Geriodontics, or Geriatric Dentistry, focuses on age-related oral diseases and treating seniors.

Dr. Sato is a general dentist and provides a wide range of treatments for his patients. If you have any questions about the service we provide or need to schedule an appointment, give us a call!

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Steve A. Sato, DDS
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Dayton, OH 45402

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