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Dental Specialties

Most people visit a general dentist regularly for their dental and oral health care needs. General dentists provide services to the old and young, treating healthy and not-so-healthy mouths. However, there are some situations for which your dentist may refer you to a specialist. Dental specialists have the advanced knowledge and skills that can be essential to maintain and restore oral health conditions under certain conditions. The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) outlines nine, nationally recognized dental specialties in Canada.

Dental Public Health
Dental public health specialists focus on improving the dental health of populations rather than individuals. They principally serve the community through research, health promotion, education and group dental care programs.

Root canal therapy is the most common procedure performed by endodontists. But that’s not all they do. Their specialty encompasses the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of nerve and tissue diseases and injuries.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons diagnose and surgically treat disorders, disease, injuries and defects impacting the functional and esthetic aspects of the mouth, head and neck. For example, they can extract wisdom teeth or broken teeth, treat temporomandibular joint disorders, or place dental implants and bone grafts.

Oral Medicine and Pathology
Dentists sometimes send specimens to specialists in the area of oral medicine and pathology. These specialists rely on clinical, radiographic, microscopic and biochemical examinations to establish a diagnosis. They focus on the nature and nonsurgical management of disease and disorders that affect oral structures.

Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology
Oral and maxillofacial radiologists help diagnose and treat diseases and disorders of the craniofacial complex through the use of imaging technologies such as X-rays, CT scans and MRIs.

Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
Orthodontists are trained to diagnose, prevent and treat dental and facial irregularities, for both functional and esthetic reasons. Treatment options include the use of dental braces, retainers, spacers and other devices.

Pediatric Dentistry
Pediatric dentists provide preventive and therapeutic oral health diagnosis, care and consulative expertise for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special care needs. They receive training on handling the fears or anxieties of some children.

Periodontists focus on the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases and conditions that affect the bones and gums or that lead to loose or lost teeth. They help maintain the health, function and esthetics of these structures and tissues. Periodontists also place dental implants.

Prosthodontists are trained to diagnosis, restore and ensure oral function, comfort, appearance and health by the restoration of the natural teeth or the replacement of missing teeth (e.g. bridges, dentures, implants).


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