What Makes a Dentist a Specialist?

Some dentists advertise themselves as “experts” or “specialists” in a certain field, such as smile makeovers, dental implants, or cosmetic dentistry. But those terms are actually reserved for specific dentists who meet additional criteria that includes another 2-4 years of formal dental education on top of their four years of dental school.

Types of Dental Specialists

According to the American Dental Association, there are specific types of dental specialists recognized in the country. These include:

Periodontists — A type of dental expert who specializes in managing the bone and soft tissues around teeth, such as in the instance of gum disease or dental implant therapy.

Prosthodontists — Experts at tooth replacement and fixed restorations, such as dentures, dental bridges, and implant restorations.

Pediatric Dentists — Those dentists who specialize in treating children, especially those who are young or have special needs.

Endodontists — This is who your dentist might refer you to if you needed a particularly challenging root canal treatment or are experiencing unexplained tooth pain.

Orthodontists — You’re probably familiar with this one! These dentists are experts at orofacial and growth modification with braces and orthodontic appliances.

Oral Surgeons — While known for wisdom tooth removal, oral surgeons also provide reconstructive jaw surgeries, dental implant placement, and cleft palate repair.

There are other specialists like Oral Pathologists and Oral Radiologists, who may be experts you see if you’re experiencing chemotherapy or oral cancer diagnosis and treatment.

In order to become one of these experts, dentists must be accepted into a post-graduate dental program to further their formal studies in the particular area of oral health. While a dentist may claim to specialize in a particular treatment, they are not a licensed specialist unless they’ve completed one of these post-graduate programs.

National and State Dental Board Requirements

Most state dental boards have requirements that prohibit dentists from saying they’re an expert in particular procedures, unless that dentist is one of the above-mentioned specialists.

After completing post-graduate school, some of these dental specialists also go on to become board-certified experts. In such cases, the experts have numerous cases to complete and submit to the governing boards for review. There are also additional exams that the dentist must sit for, to prove they have mastered the area of specialty.

While not all specialists are board-certified, they are still licensed to provide those expert services.

Ironically, dental specialists do not practice general dentistry. Although they are all dentists, they are legally obligated to restrict their practice to there of specialty that they have mastered.

Finding the Best Dentist Near You

Kois Center dentists receive advanced training in specific types of dentistry, allowing them to master and become better skilled at various restorative and therapeutic procedures. These skills make up part of their comprehensive education in order to become more proficient or learn new techniques to incorporate for their patients.

If you’re looking for a dentist with extensive skills or experience in treatments like dental implants, cosmetics, or holistic dentistry, locate a Kois Center-trained provider in your area today.