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You may be referred to a dental specialist after visiting your general dentistry dentist. Your general dentist or physician will refer you for any type of dentistry they’re not qualified to provide. You may wonder what is the deal with all of these different types of dentists? In this article, we are going to try and make sense of the different types of the dentist and what it means for you as a patient. In general, there are seven types of dentists…

DDS and DMD General Dentist

If you’re looking to find a dentist you may notice that while most are listed with a “DDS”, some may be listed as “DMD”. They both mean the same thing—your dentist graduated from an accredited dental school. The DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) and DMD (Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry or Doctor of Dental Medicine) are the same degrees. Dentists who have a DMD or DDS have the same education. It’s up to the universities to determine what degree is awarded, but both degrees use the same curriculum requirements. Both are conceded general dentists and are your primary provider. General dentistry includes the prevention, treatment, and management of issues affecting tooth and gum health in patients of all ages. They will provide a comprehensive selection of general dental services, including the following…

  • Routine exams and cleanings
  • Fluoride and sealant treatments
  • Tooth fillings
  • Gum disease treatment
  • Root canal therapy
  • Tooth extractions
  • Crowns and bridges


What exactly does an orthodontist do? Using braces, retainers, and other devices, an orthodontist helps straighten a person’s teeth and correct the way the jaws line up. Straight teeth and aligned jaws create nice smiles and help keep your teeth healthy. On top of that, when your jaws and teeth are well aligned, it’s easier to chew food. Do not be surprised if your child is referred to an orthodontist as early as the age of seven. If there are extra teeth, missing teeth, or crowded teeth, an orthodontist will treat the patient with solutions like braces, Invisalign, or retainers.

Oral Surgeon

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons focus on the hard and soft tissues found in and around the mouth. These tissues include the gums, cheeks, lips, hard palate, soft palate, tongue, and facial tissues. These surgeons are medically trained in hospitals after their dental schooling and thus perform more invasive surgeries than other dental professionals such as complex tooth extractions, surgical jaw corrections, or smoothing as a foundation for false teeth. They also perform reconstructive surgeries, cleft palate or cleft lip surgeries, and occasionally biopsies, cancerous tissue extraction, facial infections, or even sleep apnea treatments. they also have additional training in anesthesia to ensure the comfort of the patient when surgery is required.

Pediatric Dentist

This type of dentist is just like any other dentist, only they specialize in treating children, which qualifies them to identify themselves as a Certified Specialist in Pediatric Dentistry. That’s important because an adult acts differently at the dentist than a child. Grown-ups don’t need reassurance about dental care. One of the goals of a pediatric dentist is to make a visit more enjoyable for kids. This specialist will treat the same child throughout adolescence, from baby teeth through braces.


The field of periodontics involves an array of dental issues and treatment options, but all periodontists share a set of common goals: to restore diseased gum tissue to good health, to improve the appearance and function of your smile, and to help you maintain good oral health so you keep your natural teeth for as long. In most cases, a referral to a periodontist is made to help patients treat advanced gum disease. They also are trained to place dental implants.


An endodontist is also known as a root canal specialist. They treat the sick, dead, inflamed, or infected nerve of a tooth that can cause excruciating pain. When an endodontist performs a root canal treatment they will actually drill a small access hole into the top of the tooth, remove the infected tissue, clean and shape the canals with small shaping files and place a rubber material called gutta-percha into the canal to seal it from any further bacteria invading the space. The general dentist will then fabricate a porcelain crown on top of the back tooth to protect it from fracturing. Endodontists also perform surgery – an apicoectomy – on teeth that have a chronic infection that won’t heal with regular root canal treatments.


A prosthodontist is a dentist who specializes in treating complex dental and facial matters, including the restoration and replacement of missing or damaged teeth with artificial devices. They are highly trained in dental implants, crowns, bridges, dentures, jaw disorders, and more. They receive an extra few years of training to work in this field.

The field of dentistry has dramatically improved and diversified over the past decades. With these various specialties, you’re able to see a trained professional who focuses on the specific issue at hand. So there you have it, the types of dentists explained. Remember, your general dentist will be your primary point of contact to help you with your oral health care needs.

Contact us (859) 586-7900 for more information or to make an appointment!

About Torbeck Dental

Torbeck Dental treats every patient with dignity and excellent care. We are highly-trained dental professionals with exceptionally friendly and helpful service. We understand that for many, visiting a dentist can be a stressful experience so our comfortable surroundings and compassionate staff will ease any fears you may have. We are here to help you achieve your happiest and healthiest smile! Our dental team are a group experienced professionals using the latest treatments. Our team has the professional experience to realize that there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all treatment, so we never use a one-size-fits-all approach to your dental plan. We provide quality and personalized oral health care while keeping your individuality in mind. Our goal is to improve and maintain your oral health so you can smile with confidence!