When you think of a dentist, you probably think of a general dentist, someone who inspects your teeth during routine checkups and who might fill your cavities from time to time. While this is indeed a type of dentist, it’s not the only type of dentist.
The Common Types of Dentists: A Detailed Guide
In fact, there are many different types of dentists out there. Wondering what types there are? We’re going to cover the most common kinds of dentists below!
General dentists are the types of dentists that we see for our bi-yearly appointments. They’re jacks of all dental trades but are masters of none. This enables them to assess a patient’s overall oral health accurately.
These dentists can carry out various procedures, from cavity fillings to root canals to veneers to crowns and the like. They’re also trained to read x-rays and visually inspect and assess the teeth and gums.
Some general dentists serve patients of all ages. Some serve children, specifically. There are even some who limit their services to seniors.
Regardless, when it comes to checkup time, a general dentist is the person you’ll want to see. He or she will cover the run-of-the-mill dental work and refer you to another type of dentist if specialized work is needed.
General dentists are capable of facilitating some root canal procedures. However, in cases where these procedures end up being particularly complex, endodontists are the dentists to see.
Endodontists work specifically with root canals. They’re highly trained in removing the tooth pulp and are well-versed in treating infections inside the teeth.
If you ever crack a tooth or damage a tooth in some other way, you might very well be referred to an endodontist. He or she will repair your damaged tooth to preserve its appearance and eliminate any pain that might present itself.
An orthodontist is a dentist that specializes in straightening and realigning teeth. He or she does this with braces, slowly readjusting the positioning of the teeth so that they’re functionally more beneficial and aesthetically more attractive.
Orthodontists can help patients to correct their bites, improve their speech, and enhance their overall aesthetics. They can also help to reduce pain in the neck and the jaws.
These specialists often work with adolescents, as adolescence is the earliest time at which most people can have their teeth straightened. Note, though, that they sometimes work with adults and young children as well.
A prosthodontist is a dentist that specializes in implementing dental prosthetics such as dentures, dental implants, crowns, and bridges. Not only can they help improve the aesthetics of a patient’s teeth but also the functionality.
Lose one of your teeth while playing basketball? A prosthodontist will insert an implant for you.
Crack one of your teeth in half during an unexpected fall? A prosthodontist will install a crown.
Maybe your teeth have experienced severe decay over years of neglect? If so, your prosthodontist could help mold you a set of dentures.
These are dentists who specialize in treating the gums and the bone that exists underneath those gums. They most typically work with those suffering from severe periodontitis, an infection of the gum tissue that leads to decay and bone loss.
One of the most common procedures carried out by periodontists is gum grafting. This is a process in which gum tissue is taken from one part of the mouth and then grown onto another part of the mouth. It’s common in cases where the gumline has receded.
Periodontists might also carry out bone grafting procedures. This involves growing new bone in the jaw so that the teeth have adequate support.
Other responsibilities of the periodontist include setting tooth implants, extracting bad teeth, and assessing x-rays.
Pedodontists are essentially just general dentists who specialize in treating children. They’re trained to communicate with kids on their level and go to great lengths to help their young patients feel comfortable during dental procedures.
These dentists usually work in specialized offices. These offices usually include child-centric decor and toys, and other items that might help children feel more relaxed.
As far as responsibilities go, pedodontists are just like other general dentists. They inspect teeth, help to clean teeth, and carry out straightforward dental procedures like cavity fillings. They’re also trained to take and assess x-rays.
If you have a young child, and you’re wondering, “how do I find a family dentist in my area?” you’re advised to search for a pedodontist, specifically. A pedodontist is the type of dentist best-suited to accommodate your child’s anxieties.
Oral surgeons are responsible for — what else? — surgical, dental procedures. These run the gamut from tooth extractions to jaw realignments to implants and more.
The most common reason to see an oral surgeon is to have your wisdom teeth removed. However, if you have an overbite or an underbite, for example, your oral surgeon might be able to help you by surgically repositioning your jaws.
Oral surgeons make more money than any other type of dental specialist. So, if you’re looking to make the big bucks, this could be a viable career for you.
There Are All Types of Dentists Out There
As you can see, there are all types of dentists out there. Whether you’re thinking about becoming a dentist or just looking for a dentist to treat you, do your research. Dentists are varied in all sorts of ways.
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