Dental specialties are recognized by the Association to protect the public, nurture the art and science of dentistry, and improve the quality of care. A specialty is an area of dentistry that has been formally recognized by the American Dental Association as meeting the specified Requirements for Recognition of Dental Specialties. Currently there are 9 dental specialties recognized by the ADA.
Dental Public Health
Dental public health is the science and art of preventing and controlling dental diseases and promoting dental health through organized community efforts. It is that form of dental practice which serves the community as a patient rather than the individual. It is concerned with the dental health education of the public, with applied dental research, and with the administration of group dental care programs as well as the prevention and control of dental diseases on a community basis.
The Endodontist examines, diagnoses and treats diseases and destructive processes, including injuries and abnormalities of dental pulps and periapical tissues of the teeth. They evaluate their findings and prescribe a method of treatment to prevent the loss of teeth. Anyone that’s ever had a root canal has consulted an endodontist.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are dentists specializing in surgery of the mouth, face and jaws. After four years of dental school, surgeons receive four to seven years of hospital-based surgical and medical training, preparing them to do a wide range of procedures including all types of surgery of both the bones and soft tissues of the face, mouth and neck.
Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology Pathology
Oral and maxillofacial radiology is the specialty of dentistry and discipline of radiology concerned with the production and interpretation of images and data produced by all modalities of radiant energy that are used for the diagnosis and management of diseases, disorders and conditions of the oral and maxillofacial region.
Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
Oral pathology is the specialty of dentistry and discipline of pathology that deals with the nature, identification, and management of diseases affecting the oral and maxillofacial regions. It is a science that investigates the causes, processes, and effects of these diseases. The practice of oral pathology includes research and diagnosis of diseases using clinical, radiographic, microscopic, biochemical, or other examinations.
An orthodontist prevents and treats mouth, teeth, and jaw problems. Using braces, retainers, and other devices, an orthodontist helps straighten a person’s teeth and correct the way the jaws line up.
These tooth and jaw problems may be caused by tooth decay, losing baby teeth too soon, accidents, or habits like thumb sucking. These problems also can be genetic or inherited. Orthodontists frequently treat children and adolescents for problems arising with jaw growth and tooth development such as crowded or overlapping teeth.
A pediatric dentist has at least two additional years of training beyond dental school. The additional training focuses on management and treatment of a child’s developing teeth, child behavior, physical growth and development, and the special needs of children’s dentistry. Although either type of dentist is capable of addressing your child’s oral health care needs, a pediatric dentist, his or her staff, and even the office décor are all geared to care for children and to put them at ease. If your child has special needs, care from a pediatric dentist should be considered.
Periodontists are dentists who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal (gum) disease. They have had extensive training with two additional years of study after dental school. As specialists they devote their time, energy and skill to helping patients care for their gums.
A periodontist works with your dentist to provide you with the highest level of care. They will combine their experience to recommend the best treatment available to you while keeping each other informed on your progress.
The prosthodontist examines and diagnoses disabilities caused by loss of teeth and supporting structures. They formulate and execute treatment plans for the construction of corrective prostheses to restore proper function and esthetics of the mouth, face, and jaw.
Not all areas in dentistry will satisfy the requirements for specialty recognition. However, the public and profession benefit substantially when non-specialty groups develop and advance areas of interest through education, practice and research. Acknowledged by the profession, the contributions of such and their endeavors are encouraged.