The World Health Organization defines dentistry as "the science and art of preventing, diagnosing and treating diseases, injuries and malformations of the teeth, jaws and mouth". A dentist is a healthcare professional qualified to practice dentistry after graduating with a degree of either Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS), Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD), Bachelor of Dentistry (BDent), Bachelor of Dental Science (BDSc), or Bachelor of Dental Surgery/Chirurgiae (BDS) or (BChD) or equivalent. In most western countries, to become a qualified dentist one must usually complete at least 4 years of postgraduate study. Generally, 2 years of clinical experience working with patients in an educational setting are required.
General dentistry is the only non-speciality field of dentistry. General dentists typically do not focus their clinical practice on any particular discipline within dentistry, and instead provide basic care within a variety of disciplines. However, they can (and often do) further their training in one or more speciality areas (such as surgery, endodontics, orthodontics, etc.) Hence, there can be a great deal of variation between the level of skill in different disciplines from dentist to dentist, however all dentists must achieve a certain degree of skill in various disciplines in order to graduate from dental school and earn licensure. General practitioners, unlike specialists, have the luxury of choosing which services they will provide and which they will refer to specialists. It is important to note that most general practitioners perform restorative, prosthetic, routine endodontic therapy, routine periodontal therapy, and simple exodontia, as well as performing examinations. Others are comfortable treating more complex cases, as well as placing implants and extracting third molars...among many other procedures frequently referred to specialists. Contrary to popular belief, most dentists do not regularly clean teeth, and instead delegate this task to their support staff (e.g. dental hygienists).
In addition to general dentistry, there are 9 recognized dental specialties in the US, Canada, Australia, and this is similar to most medical tourism destinations. To become a specialist requires one to train in a residency or advanced graduate training program. Once residency is completed, the doctor is granted a certificate of specialty training. Many specialty programs have optional or required advanced degrees such as (MD/MBBS specific to Maxillofacial Surgery), MS, or PhD.
- Dental Public Health (study of dental epidemiology and social health policies),
- Endodontics (root canal therapy and study of diseases of the dental pulp),
- Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology (study, diagnosis, and sometimes the treatment of oral and maxillofacial related diseases),
- Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology (study and radiologic interpretation of oral and maxillofacial diseases),
- Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (extractions, facial surgery and implants),
- Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopaedics (straightening of teeth and modification of midface and mandibular growth),
- Pediatric Dentistry (i.e. dentistry for children, formerly known as "pedodontics"),
- Periodontics (treatment of the periodontium, however most periodontists place implants),
- Prosthodontics (dentures, bridges and the restoration of implants. Some prosthodontists further their training in "oral and maxillofacial prosthodontics--a discipline concerned with the replacement of missing facial structures--such as ears, eyes, nose, etc.)
Specialists in these fields are designated registrable (U.S. "Board Eligible") and warrant exclusive titles such as orthodontist, oral and maxillofacial surgeon, endodontist, pediatric dentist, periodontist, or prosthodontist upon satisfying certain local (U.S. "Board Certified"), (Australia/NZ: "FRACDS"), or (Canada: "FRCD(C)") registry requirements.
Two other post-graduate formal advanced education programs: General Practice Residency (advanced clinical and didactic training with intense hospital experience) and Advanced Education in General Dentistry (advanced training in clinical dentistry) recognized by the ADA do not lead to specialization.
Other dental education exists where no post-graduate formal university training is required: cosmetic dentistry, dental implant, temporo-mandibular joint therapy. These usually require the attendance of one or more continuing education courses that typically last for one to several days. There are restrictions on allowing these dentists to call themselves specialists in these fields. The specialist titles are registrable titles and controlled by the local dental licensing bodies.
Forensic odontology consists of the gathering and use of dental evidence in law. This may be performed by any dentist with experience or training in this field. The function of the forensic dentist is primarily documentation and verification of identity.
Geriatric dentistry or geriodontics is the delivery of dental care to older adults involving the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of problems associated with normal ageing and age-related diseases as part of an interdisciplinary team with other health care professionals.
Veterinary dentistry, a speciality of veterinary medicine, is the field of dentistry applied to the care of animals.
Please see links below for further informaiton:
Full Mouth Reconstruction / Rehabilitation
Gum Recontouring / Shaping
Inlays And Onlays
Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)