When it comes to looking for a dentist, you may encounter phrases such as general dentistry, family dentistry, or cosmetic dentistry. Dentists may be periodontists, endodontists, or orthodontists, etc. Here’s a quick look at the different types of dentists and these dental terms.
The American Dental Association (ADA) defines dentistry 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.” The short version is that dentists are medical professionals who specialize in problems of the mouth and surrounding areas.
The Different Types of Dentistry
General dentistry is focused primarily on preventive dental procedures, such as cleaning, diagnosis, x-rays, and patient counseling. General dentists can treat the majority of dental conditions, and are proficient at nearly all treatments. Some could choose to focus on certain areas of dentistry.
In the USA, 80% of dentists are general dentists, making them the most common type of dentist. General dentists provide a range of diagnostic, restorative, preventive, and cosmetic services to ensure continued oral health. To practice general dentistry, a person must receive specialized education and earn a DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) or DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) degree from a recognized dental college.
Family dentistry is a term used to describe when dental care is provided to all members of a family, whatever their age is. These general dentists provide treatment for typical dental issues that can happen to people at any time of their lives.
As opposed to helping the functional aspect of the gums and teeth, cosmetic dentistry refers to procedures that improve the appearance of your smile. It primarily involves the aesthetics of a smile, such as the shape, size, and color of teeth. The treatments provided include teeth whitening, reshaping, straightening, bridging, gum lifting, as well as installing implants and veneers.
Different Types of Dentists
Dentists can go beyond general dentistry to become a specialist by receiving additional training and education. Here we explain briefly what these specialists do.
Endodontist – Specialists in root canals. They are knowledgable on tooth pulp, nerves, and blood vessels.
Orthodontist – Orthodontists are responsible for adjusting tooth alignment with braces, clear aligners, headgear, retainers, mouthguards, and facemasks. They help modify midface and mandibular growth and improve bone structure.
Pedodontist – Also called a Pediatric Dentist. These dentists are focused on dentistry for children, from babies to teens. They provide counseling for the oral habits of children like thumb-sucking.
Periodontist – Periodontists deal with the gums and soft tissues of the mouth (periodontium) through surgical and non-surgical treatment.
Oral (and Maxillofacial) Surgeon – Oral and maxillofacial surgeons deal with performing surgeries of the soft and hard tissues of the face including corrective jaw surgery, tooth extractions, dental implant surgery, and cleft lip or cleft palate surgery.
Prosthodontist – This dental specialist replaces broken or damaged teeth for cosmetic and functional purposes, using prostheses such as bridges, dentures, and dental implants.
Dental Public Health (DPH) – This area of specialization addresses promoting oral health and prevention of oral disease in society, the focus on populations rather than just individual people.
Geriatric Dentistry – Geriatric Dentistry, or Geriodontics, focuses on oral issues related to age and the treatment of seniors.
As a General Dentist, Dr. Aerni is trained to handle most problems his patients are likely to encounter. If you need a checkup and haven’t scheduled one yet, contact us today!