Dentistry is a branch of medicine that deals with detection of disease, diagnosis, treatment of disease, restoration to repair, restore and maintain the teeth, gums and other oral tissues lost or damaged by disease, esthetic (appearance) improvement and education on how to achieve oral health and prevent diseases or injury. Also the dentist may be responsible for replacement of missing oral structures such as teeth with an artificial replacement, i.e., complete and partial dentures (false teeth). Actually, dentistry is even more than that; it is a rapidly changing and expanding profession that involves treating the whole person, not just a set of teeth and oral structures. In a broad sense, all those who have any responsibility for oral healthcare could be considered to be a part of larger definition of dentistry.

The American Dental Association (ADA), the professional association of dentistry, in its 1997 House of Delegates redefined dentistry with a less broad view as follows: Dentistry is the evaluation, diagnosis, prevention and/or treatment (non-surgical, 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; provided by a dentist, within the scope of his/her education, training and experience, in accordance with the ethics of the profession and applicable law.1