• Dentistry encompasses various specialties, each focusing on a specific area of dental care.
  • Specialists undergo additional training and education beyond their general dental degree.
  • Recognized dental specialties include orthodontics, endodontics, periodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, pediatric dentistry, and prosthodontics.
  • Choosing a dental specialist depends on the patient's specific needs and the type of dental issue they are experiencing.

Introduction to Dental Specialties

Dentistry is a vast field that encompasses various specialties. Each specialty focuses on a specific area of dental care, and dentists who specialize in these fields undergo additional training and education beyond their general dental degree. These specialists are highly skilled and knowledgeable in their respective areas and provide advanced care to patients.

There are several dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA), and each one requires additional education and training beyond the four years of dental school. These specialties include:

Choosing a dental specialist depends on the patient's specific needs and the type of dental issue they are experiencing. General dentists can refer patients to specialists when necessary, and patients can also research and choose a specialist on their own.

Dental Specialties


Orthodontics is a dental specialty that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has completed an additional two to three years of training after dental school to become an expert in straightening teeth and correcting bites.

Orthodontic treatment can be done at any age, but it is most commonly done during adolescence when the teeth and jaws are still developing. The most common orthodontic treatment is braces, which are used to straighten crooked teeth, close gaps, and correct bite problems. Braces can be made of metal, ceramic, or clear materials and are worn for an average of 18 to 24 months.

In addition to traditional braces, there are also other orthodontic treatment options available, such as clear aligners (e.g. Invisalign), lingual braces (braces that are placed on the back of the teeth), and self-ligating braces (braces that do not require elastic or metal ties).

Orthodontic treatment not only improves the appearance of the teeth but also improves their function. Straight teeth are easier to clean, reducing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Properly aligned teeth also reduce the risk of jaw problems, such as TMJ disorders, and can improve speech and chewing ability.

If you or your child needs orthodontic treatment, it is important to consult with an orthodontist who can evaluate your specific needs and recommend the best treatment option for you. With the help of an orthodontist, you can achieve a healthy, beautiful smile that lasts a lifetime.

Orthodontic treatment


Endodontics is the branch of dentistry that deals with the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental pulp and the tissues surrounding the root of a tooth. Endodontists are specialists who have undergone additional training beyond dental school to become experts in root canal therapy, a common procedure used to save a damaged or infected tooth.

The pulp of a tooth is the soft tissue inside the tooth that contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. When the pulp becomes inflamed or infected, it can cause severe pain and sensitivity. Endodontists use specialized techniques and tools to remove the damaged pulp, clean and shape the root canals, and fill them with biocompatible material to prevent further infection.

Endodontic treatment can save a tooth that would otherwise need to be extracted. It is a highly successful procedure with a success rate of over 90%. Some common signs that you may need endodontic treatment include severe tooth pain, sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, swelling, and tenderness.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see an endodontist as soon as possible. Delaying treatment can lead to further damage and may require more extensive and costly procedures in the future.

In addition to root canal therapy, endodontists also perform other procedures such as endodontic retreatment, apicoectomy, and treatment for dental trauma. If you need endodontic treatment, be sure to find a qualified and experienced endodontist in your area.


Periodontics is a dental specialty that focuses on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gum disease and other conditions that affect the supporting structures of the teeth. Periodontists are experts in the treatment of periodontal disease, which is a bacterial infection that affects the gums and can lead to tooth loss if left untreated.

Periodontists also specialize in the placement of dental implants, which are artificial tooth roots that are used to support replacement teeth. They are trained to perform surgical procedures that involve the gums and bone surrounding the teeth, such as gum grafts and bone grafts.

One of the most common procedures performed by periodontists is scaling and root planing, which is a deep cleaning of the teeth and gums that removes plaque and tartar buildup. This procedure is often used to treat early stages of gum disease, known as gingivitis.

Periodontists also play a crucial role in the management of systemic diseases that affect the oral cavity, such as diabetes. They work closely with other healthcare professionals to ensure that patients receive comprehensive care that addresses both their oral and overall health.

If you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease, such as bleeding gums, bad breath, or loose teeth, it is important to seek treatment from a periodontist as soon as possible. With their expertise and specialized training, periodontists can help you achieve optimal oral health and prevent tooth loss.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is a dental specialty that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of conditions, injuries, and defects of the mouth, teeth, jaws, and face. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (OMS) are highly trained professionals who have completed four years of dental school and an additional four to six years of surgical residency training.

OMSs are experts in a wide range of surgical procedures, including tooth extractions, dental implants, corrective jaw surgery, cleft lip and palate repair, and facial reconstruction. They also diagnose and treat oral cancer, facial pain, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.

One of the most common procedures performed by OMSs is wisdom teeth extraction. Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last set of teeth to emerge, usually between the ages of 17 and 25. In many cases, there is not enough room in the mouth for these teeth to grow properly, leading to pain, infection, and other complications. OMSs can safely and effectively remove these teeth, often using sedation or anesthesia to ensure patient comfort.

Another important area of expertise for OMSs is dental implant surgery. Dental implants are a popular and effective way to replace missing teeth, and OMSs are uniquely qualified to perform this procedure. They have extensive knowledge of the anatomy of the mouth and jaw and can ensure that the implant is placed in the optimal position for long-term success.

Overall, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is a vital specialty within the field of dentistry. OMSs play a critical role in treating complex dental and facial conditions, and their expertise is highly valued by patients and other dental professionals alike.

Pediatric Dentistry

Pediatric dentistry is a specialty that focuses on the oral health of infants, children, and adolescents. A pediatric dentist is a dental professional who has completed an additional two to three years of specialized training beyond dental school. They are trained to provide comprehensive dental care to children, including those with special needs.

One of the primary goals of pediatric dentistry is to prevent dental problems before they occur. Pediatric dentists work with parents to establish good oral hygiene habits for their children, such as brushing and flossing regularly and eating a healthy diet. They also provide preventive services like fluoride treatments and dental sealants to protect children's teeth from decay.

In addition to preventive care, pediatric dentists also provide restorative care for children who have dental problems. This may include filling cavities, repairing broken teeth, and treating gum disease. They also provide emergency care for children who experience dental trauma, such as a knocked-out tooth.

Pediatric dentists are trained to work with children who may be anxious or fearful about visiting the dentist. They use techniques like distraction, positive reinforcement, and sedation to help children feel comfortable and relaxed during their appointments.

If you have a child, it's important to establish a relationship with a pediatric dentist early on. Regular dental check-ups can help prevent dental problems and ensure that your child's teeth and gums are healthy.


Prosthodontics is a dental specialty that focuses on the restoration and replacement of missing teeth and other oral structures. Prosthodontists are experts in creating prosthetic devices such as dentures, bridges, and dental implants. They also specialize in the restoration of damaged teeth using crowns, veneers, and other techniques.

Prosthodontists work closely with other dental specialists such as oral surgeons, periodontists, and orthodontists to provide comprehensive dental care to their patients. They use state-of-the-art technology and materials to create custom-made prosthetic devices that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

One of the most common procedures performed by prosthodontists is dental implant surgery. Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are surgically placed into the jawbone to support a replacement tooth or bridge. This procedure is highly effective in restoring the function and appearance of missing teeth.

Prosthodontists also specialize in the treatment of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). This condition affects the jaw joint and can cause pain, discomfort, and difficulty chewing. Prosthodontists use a variety of techniques to treat TMJ, including the use of oral appliances, physical therapy, and surgery.

If you are missing teeth or have damaged teeth that require restoration, a prosthodontist can help. They will work with you to develop a treatment plan that meets your individual needs and goals. With their expertise and advanced technology, prosthodontists can help you achieve a healthy, beautiful smile that you can be proud of.


As you can see, the field of dentistry is vast and offers many different career paths. Each specialty requires additional education and training beyond dental school, but the rewards can be great. Whether you are interested in becoming a dentist, dental hygienist school requirements, dental hygienist school requirement, dental hygienists school requirements, dental school requirements, dental schooling requirements, dentistry guidelines, GPA requirement for dental school, types of dentistry, u of l dental school requirements, dental specialist fields, dentistry career paths, dental research trends, or dental field guide, there is a dental specialty for you.

It is important to do your research and explore your options before choosing a specialty. Consider your interests, skills, and personality to find the right fit. Remember, no matter which specialty you choose, the ultimate goal is to improve the oral health and quality of life of your patients.

At Dentistry Guidelines, we strive to provide comprehensive resources for all things related to dentistry. Whether you are a student, a practicing dentist, or simply interested in the field, we have something for you. Keep exploring our website for more information and insights into the world of dentistry.

Dentist with patient

Dr. Bella Hayes
Cosmetic dentistry, hiking, trying new restaurants

With over a decade of experience in dental practice, Dr. Bella Hayes is a specialist in the field of cosmetic dentistry. She has devoted her career to helping patients achieve their ideal smiles. When not in her clinic, she likes to explore new hiking trails and discover unique dining experiences.

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