What Is a Dental Specialist?

Dental specialists care for particular oral issues, including gum disorders and misaligned jaws. Read on to learn more about dental specialty practice. Schools offering Dental Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

The American Dental Association (ADA) approves nine dental specialties. In order to become a dental specialist, you'll need to complete two or more years of specialty postgraduate training after completing your Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree program. Discussed in this article are some of the most popular types of specializations in dental care.

Important Facts About Dental Specialists

Median Salary (2018) $156,240 (for all dentists)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 19% growth (for all dentists)
Licensure Specialty license requirements vary by state
Work Environment Dentists usually work in a dentists' office full-time with some nights and weekends, depending upon patients' needs

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Orthodontist and Dentofacial Orthopedics

Orthodontists work to correct jaw, bite, or tooth alignment issues, using braces or other types of mechanical methods. As an orthodontist, you may also work to restructure facial skeletal problems.


Endodontists focus on curing problems with dental pulp, or the tooth's soft interior tissue matter. As an endodontist, you'll primarily perform root canal procedures.

Oral and Maxillofacial Pathologist

As this type of dental specialists, you'll diagnose, treat, and eliminate diseases of the maxillofacial region, which includes the whole mouth, face, neck, and jaw. You may also perform research to see how these types of diseases function and can be cured.

Oral and Maxillofacial Radiologist

Oral and maxillofacial radiologists use MRIs, CT scans, and ultrasound technology to diagnose and treat disorders of the maxillofacial area.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are trained along with other types of surgeons in surgical settings. In this profession, you'll treat head and neck cancer, perform surgery on teeth and tissues, and reconstruct facial features.


As a periodontist, you'll primarily focus on caring for gum tissue, re-growing bones and implanting false teeth. You'll work to prevent disease in the tissue and around the real or implanted teeth.

Pediatric Dentist

Pediatric dentists care for the dental health of children and teenagers. As a pediatric dentist, you'll instruct your patients on the methods for sustaining good oral health.

Dental Public Health Specialist

As a dental public health specialist, you'll educate your community about proper dental care and hygiene by implementing community health initiatives. In addition, you'll treat dental diseases in a community clinic.


As a prosthodontist, you'll fix broken oral structures with artificial replacements. You'll apply crowns and bridges and construct dentures. You may also provide treatment for snoring and sleeping disorders, perform oral reconstruction surgeries, and care for jaw joint issues.

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