The dentist is a graduate of an accredited dental college who has been issued a license to a state board of dentistry to practice dentistry. The dentist is educated in a university dental program after having completed specific educational requirements. The dental program typically lasts four years after admission into the program, and the graduate receives either a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine). DDS and DMD have the same educational requirements and are the same degree. The titles are simply what a university chooses to call its dental degrees. Check out www.ada.org for more information on dentistry.
Dentist Specialties include:
- Dental Public Health: A specialty of dentistry, which involves preventing and controlling dental diseases and promoting dental health through organized community efforts.
- Endodontics: A specialty of dentistry, which is concerned with the morphology, physiology and pathology of human dental pulp and the surrounding tissues. The practitioner of this specialty is called an endodontist. The endodontist performs root canal procedures.
- Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology: A specialty of dentistry that deals with the character, identification and management of diseases that affect the oral and maxillofacial regions. The practitioner of this specialty is usually called an oral pathologist.
- Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery: A specialty of dentistry which includes the diagnosis, surgical and adjunctive treatment of diseases, injuries and defects involving both the functional and esthetic aspects of the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region. The practitioner of this specialty is usually called an oral surgeon.
- Orthodontics: A specialty of dentistry concerned with the prevention and correction of abnormally positioned teeth and malformations of their related structures. The practitioner of this specialty is usually called an orthodontist.
- Pediatric Dentistry: A dental specialty that provides comprehensive preventive and therapeutic oral healthcare for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special healthcare needs. The practitioner of pediatric dentistry is called a pediatric dentist (formerly pedodontist).
- Periodontics: A specialty of dentistry which encompasses the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the supporting and surrounding tissues of the teeth or their substitutes and the maintenance of the health, function and esthetics of these structures and tissues.1 The practitioner of this specialty is usually called a periodontist.
- Prosthodontics: Another specialty of dentistry whose responsibility is the restoration of natural teeth and/or the replacement of missing teeth and contiguous oral and maxillofacial tissues with artificial substitutes. The practitioner of this specialty is usually called a prosthodontist.
- Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology: The newest specialty of dentistry (1999) that uses imaging and associated technology for the diagnosis and management of a range of diseases affecting the mouth, jaws and related areas of the head and neck. A practitioner of this specialty is called an oral and maxillofacial radiologist (OMR).
- Note: For more complete definitions of dental specialties go to www.ada.org.