5 Types of Dentists
Photo by Michael Browning from Unsplash
Everyone knows what a dentist does. People see dentists from the time they are little children. But do you know what a periodontist or endodontist does? There are more professionals who specialize in working on your mouth than you might think.
The dentist is a very common professional we all should be seeing at least twice a year. These professionals focus on basic oral hygiene. They help us keep our teeth clean, our gums healthy, and can fill cavities or place crowns on any damaged teeth we might have. Some dentists offer emergency dental work where they offer their services the same-day or after hours.
Within the typical profession of a dentist, there are also pediatric dentists. Pediatric dentists can do everything a general dentist does, but they specialize in working on children. Pediatric dentist offices normally try look more fun for children and could even have TV for the kids to watch while they are being worked on.
Another more common professional specializing in working on your mouth is the orthodontist. While general dentists focus on preventative oral health, orthodontists focus on correcting misaligned teeth or jaw/biting issues. A person might have work done by an orthodontist for a medical reason like pain in their jaw when they bite, or they could have work done by an orthodontist for cosmetic reasons like wanting to straighten out their smile. An orthodontist can offer their patients braces, retainers, headgear, or Invisalign.
Periodontists are a professional most of us are less familiar with. Periodontists focus more on the gums and bones of the mouth rather than the teeth. They treat more severe gum diseases that your general dentist can’t. A periodontist can diagnose gingivitis and periodontitis. They can treat these diseases and perform surgeries like skin grafting on the gums or installing dental implants.
Endodontists focus on the inner part of the tooth. Teeth are made of four different tissues. Enamel, dentin, and cementum are all hard tissues. The innermost tissue is called the pulp. It is a soft tissue full of nerves and blood vessels. Endodontists work on the pulp of the tooth. One of the most common procedures an endodontist performs is a root canal.
Prosthodontists specialize in oral prosthetics. They treat patients who are coming in for both medical and cosmetic reasons. A person who is missing teeth and struggles to speak correctly would see a prosthodontist to get false teeth implants to help improve their speech. A prosthodontist also can provide patients with veneers, dentures, bridges, or crowns. Your dentist might refer you to a prosthodontist if you need more advanced prosthetic work than your dentist is comfortable performing.
These five professions related to oral hygiene are interesting and complex. It’s surprising how little we might know about some of these professions. Thankfully, people are willing to dedicate their lives to improving our oral hygiene. Dentists, periodontists, endodontists, orthodontists, and prosthodontists all help to keep our mouths healthy and happy. Now the next time someone talks about needing to go see a specialist for gum health, you’ll know they are talking about a periodontist.