When it comes to finding a dentist, you may come across terms such as general, cosmetic, or family dentistry. To add to the confusion, some dentists are endodontists, orthodontists, or periodontists, etc., but what do those words mean? Here's a quick look at the different types of dentists and these dental terms.
Dentistry is defined 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," according to the American Dental Association (ADA). Essentially, dentists are practitioners who focus on the mouth and surrounding areas.
The Different Types of Dentistry
General dentistry is focused mainly on preventive dental procedures, such as teeth cleanings, diagnosis, x-rays, and patient counseling. General dentists can treat the majority of dental conditions, and are proficient at most all treatments. Some may choose to focus on certain areas of dentistry, however.
In America, 80% of all dentists are general dentists, so most dentists are general dentists. General dentists provide a range of diagnostic, preventive, restorative, and cosmetic services to ensure the continued oral health
of their patients. In order to become a general dentist, a person needs to get a specialized education to earn the Doctor of Dental Medicine or Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from a recognized dental college.
The term "family dentistry" is used to describe when a general dentist provides dental care to all family members, no matter their age. These dentists provide treatment for typical dental conditions which may affect someone at any point in their lives.
Rather than improving the functionality of the teeth, gums, and bite, cosmetic dentistry involves cosmetic procedures to improve the aesthetics of a person's smile. It primarily deals with improving or restoring the look of a smile, such as the color, shape, and size of the teeth. Treatments in cosmetic dentistry include things such as teeth straightening, whitening, reshaping, bridging, gum lifting, installing veneers and implants.
Types of Dentists
A dentist can go on to become a specialist by receiving additional training and education. Below are what these dental specialists do.
Endodontist – Dentists who focus on root canals. Knowledgable on blood vessels, nerves, and tooth pulp.
Orthodontist – They are responsible for installing braces, clear aligners, mouthguards, headgear, retainers, and facemasks. Help improve bone structure and modify midface and mandibular growth.
Pediatric Dentist or Pedodontist - This type of dentist focuses their dentistry on children, from babies to teens. They provide counseling for the oral habits of children such as thumb-sucking.
Periodontist - Deal with the gums and soft tissues of the mouth (periodontium) through both non-surgical and surgical treatment.
Oral (and Maxillofacial) Surgeon - Oral and maxillofacial surgeons deal with dental implant surgery, corrective jaw surgery, cleft lip or cleft palate surgery, tooth extractions as well as additional surgeries pertaining to the hard and soft tissues of the face.
Prosthodontist – This specialist replaces teeth that are damaged or broken for both cosmetic and functional reasons, with prostheses like implants, dentures, and bridges.
Dental Public Health
- This area of specialization addresses the prevention of oral disease and the promotion of oral health
in society, focusing on populations rather than only individuals.
Geriatric Dentistry – Geriatric Dentistry, or Geriodontics, deals with oral problems related to age and treating seniors.
As a General Dentist, Dr. Lechner can treat you and your family for most dental issues you are likely to come across, as well as perform cosmetic procedures. For any of your dental needs, don't be afraid to give us a call to set up an appointment