Looking to Specialize? These Are the 7 Most Common Types of Dentists

types of dentists

In 2017, the net income for dentist specialists was about $320,000.

However, many people don’t know what a specialist dentist does. 

The career path for a dentist is diverse and there are a number of specialized paths you can follow. These are the most common types of dentists in America.

1. Orthodontist

If you had braces when you were a teenager, then you probably went to go see an orthodontist. 

An orthodontist works a lot with braces because, in general, they are the ones who will correct your teeth and jaw and move them to the correct position. If your teeth are crooked or if you have an overbite, you will probably be recommended to an orthodontist.

Being an orthodontist isn’t just about moving a patient’s teeth and jaws though. They also have to know how to customize braces to make your teeth move, figure out which tools to use to complete your treatment plan. 

2. Pediatric Dentist

If you love working with children, you may want to consider being a pediatric dentist. They are kind of like a regular dentist; they just specialize in children’s teeth.

As a pediatric dentist, you could take care of a newborn child to a teenager. However, you will be able to work with them and make sure that they have a strong, healthy smile to last them the rest of their adult life.

You will conduct regular exams, cleanings, cavity fillings, and occasionally diagnose oral disease. 

One thing that’s different from a regular dentist is that you could provide habit counseling, like how to get a child to stop sucking on their thumb or a binkie. 

If you want to become a pediatric dentist, you should know that you will have to add two more years of education in dental training because you need to learn about developing teeth in children. 

If you’re interested in this, click here to read more.

3. Periodontist

Periodontists are the ones who specialize and focus on keeping your gums healthy and treating them if they’re infected or decaying.

While most dentists focus on your teeth, your gums are just as important. 

As a periodontist, you will be able to diagnose gum disease, do minor surgeries, treat severe gum disease, and help your patients feel confident in their smile again. 

They don’t only treat gum disease, they can treat any kind of inflammation, pain, and recession. Some of them will even be able to install dental implants.

4. Prosthodontist

If your passion is helping people feel more confident in their smile, then being a prosthodontist may be the perfect job for you.

When you’re one of these types of dentist, you will help replace or restore damaged or missing teeth. 

In this job, you will have the knowledge and the expertise on what makes up a good smile and also learn how to achieve it. By helping these people with new teeth, then you will be able to provide them better functionality to chew and speak while also helping them feel confident in the appearance of their teeth.

If someone needs crowns, implants, bridges, dentures, or any other type of replacement, then they will be referred to you. This dentist will then work alongside of the dental lab to create these customized prosthetic for their customer.

5. Endodontist

If you’re interested more in how teeth work and what’s inside of them, then being an endodontist would be the perfect job for you. This specialized dentist focused more on what’s inside the teeth: the pulp. 

You will have to know all of this stuff to be able to diagnose and treat issues inside of people’s teeth. 

If people need a root canal, they will most likely be referred to you to fix it. 

6. Oral Surgeon

An oral surgeon will perform different surgeries to treat issues relating to your jaw, mouth, or face. For example, oral surgeons are generally the ones who take out people’s wisdom teeth.

There can even be different kind of oral surgeon specialists. Some may focus more on your teeth and others may focus more on your face. 

One unique thing about being an oral surgeon is that not only are you the surgeon, but you are also the one who administers the anesthesia. This surgeon is the only type that does both. 

You will need extra training to learn how to do this, but if being a surgeon is what you are looking to do, then this is a great job for you.

7. General Dentist

While this isn’t a specialized dentist, it is probably the most common dentist that you will find in America.

A lot of dentists choose this because they get to work with the whole family and can still perform routine checkups.

A general dentist can see children, but they don’t have to take the two years of extra schooling like a pediatric dentist would have to.

As a general dentist, you will be in charge of performing tasks such as:

  • X-rays
  • Dental cleanings
  • Education on diseases and at home care
  • Diagnosing oral diseases
  • Referrals
  • Filling cavities
  • Repairing teeth
  • Whitening teeth
  • Treat tooth decay
  • See early signs of gum disease
  • Monitor health of neck, mouth, and head

While a general dentist has a little bit of knowledge of some of the things the specialist focuses on, they won’t know all of it. And they definitely won’t know as much a specialist knows.

So if your general dentist thinks that you need to be seen by one of the specialists mentioned above, they will be able to provide you a referral for that.

Pick One of These Types of Dentists To Be

Once you’ve decided which of these types of dentists you want to have as your career, then you will have to go to school and get some training.

It may be a long, hard road, but it will be worth it in the end.

Once you have the schooling and training, you can check out this website to help you find your dream career.