Oral Health Problems

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The Different Types of Dentists and the Services They Provide

There are various types of dentists that people go to depending on their oral health problem. This article lists four of them. Read on to learn what kinds of services each one provides.

General Dentist

Offering preventive care and disease diagnosis, a general dentist is the primary oral care provider for most people. These professionals have earned a Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD) or Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from an accredited school. They can perform various types of dental works, including diagnostic examinations for periodontal diseases, several cosmetic procedures, and some minor operations. Restorative services, such as fitting crowns, bridges, and fillings, are among the scope of their services. A general dentist can also perform tooth extractions and minor oral surgeries, such as tooth implants and root canals.


An orthodontist is a dental care provider that focuses on straightening misaligned teeth. They receive special training and complete a residency program before they can apply for a license. In total, it takes 10 to 11 years of study before they get certified: four years obtaining an undergraduate degree, four more years at a dental school, and finally, two to three years in an accredited residency program for orthodontists.

After receiving their license to practice, an orthodontist can now diagnose and resolve teeth alignment issues, including overbites, underbites, occlusions, and overcrowded teeth. All of these oral problems, if left untreated, will worsen over time and cause major health problems, such as abnormal teeth growth and jaw pain. They can also lead to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), one of the worst-case scenarios.

There are different tools and techniques that an orthodontist can use to treat their patients. Among the most common options are metal braces, which have wires and brackets used to slowly pull the teeth into their right positions. An orthodontist may also use other solutions, such as invisible aligners (Invisaligns), palate expanders, Herbst appliances, and orthodontic headgears to treat different oral problems.

Pediatric Dentist

As the name suggests, a pediatric dentist specializes in providing care and treatment for the oral problems of young people, from infants to youths in their early adolescence. These specialists are also called pedodontists, and they work closely with general dentists and pediatricians in a hospital setting. A pediatric dentist usually offers a gentler approach to their profession to keep their patients calm during the treatment procedure.

In most cases, it can take up to 10 years to become a pediatric dentist. These years of study include four years to earn an undergraduate degree and another four years to graduate from dental school. At least two years of residency program is also required as special training during which, they will closely study the various effects of oral treatment to infants and kids.

A pediatric dentist can provide a multitude of dental works for children, such as oral exams, cleaning, and teeth straightening. Other services that they offer include:

  • Extracting a decayed or severely damaged tooth
  • Repairing cavities
  • Habit counseling
  • Educating parents
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Treating gum and other periodontal diseases
  • Performing early diagnosis of oral diseases that are associated with major health issues, such as diabetes.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

An oral and maxillofacial surgeon provides proper treatment for any kind of major dental emergencies. They operate on the mouth, jaw, upper neck, and the lower part of the face. Their patients include mostly people who lost teeth due to an accident, a punch to the face, or other kinds of external trauma. Those who have cysts in their mouth and gums, are experiencing jaw pain, and have TMJ can also visit an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for treatment.

Among all types of dentists, oral and maxillofacial surgeons study the longest. In total, it usually takes 12 to 14 years for them to earn their license to practice. These years of training and study include four years in college and another four years in dental school. The residency program for an oral and maxillofacial surgeon can last for four to six years. As part of their residency program, they receive special training in mouth and face surgery. They also study anesthesiology to obtain proper credentials in administering various kinds of sedatives to their patients.