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Dental specialists decoded

Dental specialists decoded

Did you know that dentists can have specializations just like other medical professionals? From treating your gums to fitting you with braces to installing dental implants, there's a wide range of specializations within the profession. Although general dentists offer a broad range of services, your dentist may refer you to one of these specialists if you need treatment beyond what he or she can provide.

But how can you tell one “-odontist” from another? We’ve got you covered. Here’s an overview of some of the most common dental specializations.

Common specializations

  • Endodontists specialize in pulp, or the soft inner tissue of the teeth. Infection of this area can cause tooth sensitivity and intense pain. As experts in root canal treatment, endodontists may also handle traumatic dental injuries like teeth that have been knocked out. Compared to the average general dentist, who only perform about two root canals a week, the average endodontist carries out about 25!
  • Orthodontists work to realign teeth and jaws using braces, retainers, spacers, headgear and more. Crooked teeth are harder to keep clean and are more likely to be lost early due to tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. Misalignment can also lead to speech problems, gum problems, jaw pain and difficulty biting or chewing. Orthodontic treatment can improve the health, appearance and lifespan of your teeth.
  • Periodontists focus on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal (gum) disease. Periodontal diseases range from simple gum inflammation, known as gingivitis, to major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. You might want to make an appointment with a periodontist if you need scaling and root planing, gum grafts or dental implants.
  • Prosthodontists are experts in the restoration and replacement of teeth. Using crowns, bridges, full or partial dentures and dental implants, these dentists can help restore the appearance and function of your teeth after dental loss or damage.

Dentistry video: Common dental specialists

General dentists aren't the only kind of dentist. Learn the difference between an endodontist, a periodontist and more.

Last updated January 12, 2022

The oral health information on this website is intended for educational purposes only. Always consult a licensed dentist or other qualified health care professional for any questions concerning your oral health.