The American Dental Association (ADA) recognized nine different specialized dental fields. A dentist who wants to work in these fields must complete additional training beyond the four years needed for a general dentistry degree of DDS or DMD.
If you're looking to choose a dentist for specialized care, here are some of the established specialties to look for:
Dental Public Health: This field focuses on studying the causes and patterns or oral health diseases among groups of people, and how to manage them. This specialty is also involved in developing social policies related to oral health, such as the fluoridation of water.
Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics: This specialty focuses on straightening teeth and improving people’s bites using braces and retainers
Endodontics: This field focuses on the management of diseases of the tooth pulp and surrounding areas. A root canal is the most well-known endodontic procedure.
Prosthodontics: This field focuses on treating dental problems with prostheses, which include dentures, crowns, and dental bridges and replacing dental implants.
Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology: This field involves the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the face, mouth, and jaw.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery: This field involves a variety of oral surgery procedures including extractions, placement of dental implants and treatments of genetic conditions such as cleft lip and cleft palate.
Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology: This field involves using x-rays and other imaging technologies to study diseases of the face, mouth, and jaw.
Periodontics: This field focuses on caring for the structures that support the teeth, primarily the management of gum disease (periodontitis) and placement and maintenance of dental implants.
Pediatric Dentistry: This field focuses on treating dental problems in children.