Specialty DentistrySpecialty dentistry encompasses other fields of dentistry outside of general dentistry and may require up to six additional years of education beyond the four years required for a general dental license.
Fields of specialization include:
Endodontics is a highly specialized field of dentistry which focuses on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases directly affecting the dental pulp and periradicular tissues. These diseases are related to a tooth’s nerve and endodontics treatments and procedures can help preserve or even save severely infected and unhealthy teeth.
Endodontists are specialized dentists with advanced training in diagnosing and treating oral and facial pain, and complications associated with the dental pulp. They perform a variety of dental procedures, most commonly endodontic therapy or root canal therapy, as well as, endodontic re-treatment, oral surgery, treating fractured and decayed teeth, and treating dental trauma.
The discipline of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery focuses on correcting a wide spectrum of diseases including injuries and defects in the head, neck, face, jaws, and the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region. It involves, but is not limited to: dental implants, wisdom teeth removal, apicoectomy, TMJ disorder, facial trauma, corrective jaw surgery, oral pathology, osseous tissue surgery, anesthesia, and bone grafts. It is an internationally recognized surgical specialty and in the United States it is one of the nine specialties of dentistry.
Periodontics is an extremely specialized form of dentistry that involves treating the supporting structures and tissues around the teeth and the conditions that affect them. Essentially, the goal of periodontics is to prevent, diagnose, and treat periodontal disease and other conditions of the gums, bones, and ligaments. The most common periodontal specialties involve detecting and treating periodontal disease, treating severe gum disease, oral inflammation, crown lengthening, scaling and root planing, and placing and repairing dental implants.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that every child has a first dental check up by age 1 or within six months after the first tooth erupts. The first dental visit includes oral hygiene instruction, discussion about fluoride needs, dietary guidance, and anticipatory guidance to help caregivers and parents know how to care for their children’s teeth and to keep good oral hygiene so that the children can remain cavity-free. Cavities can cause pain and other medical issues (e.g. infection). Baby teeth do much more than serve as “training wheels” while the adult teeth are forming.