Dental Specialties

Although general dentists can deliver most dental care, a patient may need care from a specialist. About 80% of dentists are general dentists and 20% are specialists. The American Dental Association recognizes these eight dental specialties.


Endodontists save teeth with root canal therapy, which involves removing the soft inner tissue (pulp) of a tooth. Endodontists diagnose the causes of painful or sensitive teeth and may use non-surgical and surgical techniques to treat them.

Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology

Oral and Maxillofacial Pathologists identify disorders that affect the mouth and facial region. The research and diagnose conditions using clinical, radiographic, microscopic, biochemical or other examinations.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Often called oral surgeons, these specialists have a diverse role. They remove teeth as well as place dental implants. They perform surgery that involves the functional and aesthetic aspects of the facial bones, jaws and overlying tissues. They use intravenous sedation or general anesthesia in either a hospital or office setting. Oral surgeons also treat injuries to the head, jaws and facial areas. They diagnose and treat oral and facial lesions, which often include cancer. They are the primary providers of orthognathic surgical procedures (aligning the upper and lower jaws). They also treat temporomandibular joint disorders.

Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics

Orthodontists evaluate growth of the dentofacial structures. They diagnose crooked teeth and improperly formed jaws. They treat these problems in both children and adults by straightening teeth with braces. They works as a team with oral surgeons and others to diagnose and treat orthognathic patients. They also work closely with pediatric dentists to diagnose and treat malocclusions.

Pediatric Dentistry

Pediatric Dentists (Pedodontists) have special training in treating children. They provide care for infants and children through adolescents, including those with special needs.


Periodontists diagnose and treat disorders of the supporting structures of the teeth – the gums and bony tissues. They offer non-surgical and surgical treatments and may place and maintain dental implants. They often diagnose and treat diseases of the mouth and temporomandibular joints.


Prosthodontists diagnose and treat patients who need crowns, bridges and partial or complete dentures. They provide diagnosis and restorative work for patients who have had dental implants placed by other surgical specialists. Some prosthodontists may place and maintain dental implants themselves.

Public Health

Public health dentists treat dental diseases and promote dental health through government controlled efforts in a community