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If you are interested in pursuing dentistry or opening a dental practice, there are many different specialties that you can choose from in the field. By exploring your options, you will be better equipped to choose the best path forward for your career and future practice. 


General Dentist

A general dentist is typically a family dentist who is responsible for checking your oral health on a regular basis, typically every six months. General dentistry is the most common type of dentist, as most of their work focuses on providing optimal preventative oral care, including regular dental cleaning, oral X-rays and informing patients on proper at-home oral care. They are all responsible for treating tooth decay by replacing it with artificial fillings, taking care of cracked or chipped teeth, repairing missing teeth and providing whitening services. They also take care of issues, such as gum disease and root complications, which occur below the gumline. If you need a specialist, your general dentist can refer you. Even though generalists are able to treat most conditions, they typically do not perform other services that are not within the realm of general health.



Orthodontists are the dentists who specialize in installing braces. Their care also extends to being concerned about fixing misaligned teeth, jaw bones and other facial structures for functional as well as cosmetic motivations. They design custom oral hardware, including braces, dental alignment trays, headgear, mouth guards, retainers, etc. Such hardware helps to improve your both bone structure and spaced-out teeth.


Other Types of Dentists

Periodontists focus on preventing, diagnosing and treating different types of gum complications, such as inflammation, pain, gum disease, etc. They also install dental implants and perform cosmetic surgery. Prosthodontists are responsible for giving you oral prostheses that replace decayed, damaged or missing teeth. They are also responsible for “smile makeovers,” including a complete overhaul of a person’s smile. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are concerned with the hard and soft tissues found in and around your mouth, including gems, lips, cheeks, hard palate, soft palate, tongues and facial tissues. They perform reconstructive surgeries, handle surgical jaw corrections, complex extractions, etc. Oral surgeons also create the groundwork for future dental work. Endodontists care about the inner part of the tooth and specialize in performing root canals and other surgeries.