9 Types of Dental Specialists

When we think about the profession of dentistry, we generally think of our dentist’s office where we regularly (hopefully) go for a checkup, teeth cleanings, cavity fillings, and other such procedures. In reality, this profession expands much further than the local office around the corner, and there are numerous specialties in the field.

Below is a rundown of the types of dental specialists:

General Dentist

The general dentist is a dental specialist; we are all most familiar. They are the primary dental care providers who will diagnose conditions, treat minor issues, and manage your overall oral health. They typically handle simple to moderate procedures such as fillings, root canals, gum care, crowns, bridges, extractions, etc.


Orthodontists, on the other hand, are those who specialize in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of problems that involve the teeth, jaw, and the structure between them. They will help straighten your teeth and choose the right braces. Orthodontists specialize in corrective retainers and appliances that help with biting and smiling.


Endodontists are specialists that work with the tooth’s nerve and pulp. They perform a complicated root canal or similar procedures. In most cases, endodontists are general dentists with additional training.


Also known as pediatric dentists, pedodontists specialize in the dental care of children. Similar to general dentists, these specialists perform easy to moderate procedures. The difference, of course, is that they treat young children and infants. They receive two-extra years of training and are experts in tooth development.


Periodontists specialize in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of problems that affect soft tissues in the mouth. These include the bones as well as the gums. Common issues they have to deal with are periodontitis and gingivitis.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeon

These specialists are responsible for performing surgeries of the mouth, jaw, or face. They will also conduct an operation to those who are suffering from cysts or tumors, as well as complicated dental implants that involve the placement of the posts in the jaw. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons receive an extra four to eight years of training above the typical medical school.


Prosthodontists specialize in the replacement of missing teeth, as well as the repair of natural teeth. Caps and crowns are this specialist’s tools of the trade, and they use them to correct areas of concern within the mouth. They also work with dental implants and with patients that have any head or neck deformities.

Oral Pathologist

Oral pathologists are experts in all the different diseases that can affect a person’s mouth, jaw, teeth, lips, or cheeks. They are in charge of conducting biopsies to diagnose the condition affecting the patient.

Dental Assistants

Dental assistants represent a different class of dental specialists of their own. They are in charge of various duties around the dental office, assisting other dental specialists in their tasks. There are numerous types of dental assistants, each with their set of duties and responsibilities. There can be Hygiene, Clinical Dental, Endodontic, Orthodontist, Expanded Duties Dental Assistants, and even Office Managers in charge of running a dental office.

Among their many duties, we can include things such as oral radiography, application of topical fluoride and agents, taking face-bow transfers and bite registrations, removal of ligature ties, examination of orthodontic appliances, assisting in the administration of nitrous oxide for analgesia, monitoring patient sedation, and the list can go on.


We hope this short rundown was useful to you. For more information on the topic, as well as any dental education programs, feel free to visit the Dental Specialties Institute, Inc. website or contact us directly.