The American Dental Association recognizes 9 dental specialties. According to the recognition requirements, the ADA recognizes specialty fields only if, “Advanced knowledge and skills are essential to maintain and restore oral health,” and the association asserts, “The needs of the public are best served if the profession is oriented primarily to general practice.” Dr. Ed Dooley is a general practice dentist, but has advanced training and experience in many of the recognized dental fields. In order for patients to determine the ideal course of treatment in situations where they may need advanced care, it’s important to understand the role of specialists in the dental profession.
The ADA Recognized Dental Specialties
- Dental public health – serves the entire community’s oral health needs rather than an individual patient. This includes preventing and controlling disease, dental health education, applied research, and administration of group dental health programs.
- Endodontics – is the study, understanding, and treatment of the interior portion of the tooth known as the pulp. Endodontists are primarily called upon to treat root canal infection, and traumatic injury that damages the pulp of one or more teeth.
- Oral and maxillofacial pathology – commonly simplified to oral pathology, this specialty focuses on understanding how and why diseases of the oral and maxillofacial regions occur, how they progress, and how best to prevent and treat these diseases. This specialty is typically considered a research field.
- Oral and maxillofacial radiology – focuses on the techniques and technology related to radiant energy imaging of the oral and maxillofacial region. These practitioners have better understanding of how to read images, produce images with higher clarity, and better serve patients. They teach radiology to other dentists, research within the field, and offer advanced diagnosis and treatment planning in conjunction with other specialists or general dentists.
- Oral and maxillofacial surgery – the diagnosis and surgical repair of injuries and genetic irregularities of the oral and maxillofacial region including both hard and soft tissue. Some of the most common surgical procedures include cleft palate correction, bone grafts, and rebuilding facial structures following trauma.
- Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics – the most frequently visited dental specialists, orthodontists provide correction for crooked, gapped, or misaligned teeth with braces, retainers, and other orthotic devices, but they also offer correction for abnormalities of developing structures in the oral and maxillofacial region.
- Pediatric dentistry – these specialists in children’s dentistry have advanced training in the treatment and diagnosis of developing dental structures. Additionally, pediatric dentists have education in treating patients with special health care needs from behavioral concerns to advanced mental or physical impairment.
- Periodontics – diseases, malformations, and injuries to the structures that provide support and stability for smiles are treated by periodontists. Periodontists assist in the treatment of gum disease, and perform gum grafts, regenerative procedures, dental implant placement, crown lengthening, and other necessary or cosmetic procedures that affect surrounding dental structures.
- Prosthodontics – patients with dentures, crown and bridge, or other tooth replacement prosthetics have reaped the rewards of prosthodontics. This field focuses on replacement and restoration of teeth with natural looking, feeling, and functioning dental prosthesis.
Find Out More from the Dentist Spring Lake Trusts
Dr. Dooley and his Spring Lake dental team are focused on general dentistry for the prevention and treatment of common oral health concerns, but when patients need advanced care, we’re happy to partner with area specialists to provide the oral health care patients need. Contact Dooley Dentistry today to find out more about your oral health or schedule an appointment.