The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


The Different Types of Dental Specialists (And What They Do)


Everyone has a different type of health situation happening inside their mouths. That’s why you shouldn’t make a call to the first dentist you find in the search engine.

Yes, dentists deal with oral health concerns. But most specialize in specific areas of dentistry. Before scheduling your first appointment, find out about the different types of dentists.

Visiting a dentist on the regular helps you protect your teeth. They pass on professional knowledge and advice about oral health to keep your smile healthy. Also, one of the best ways to find out about oral cancer is by going to the dentist.

Not mention, seeing a dentist prevents gum disease and stinky breath.

Want to know the different types of dentists and what they do? Read on to discover the details and how to make the right choice for specific dental concerns here.

General Dentists Top the List of Different Types of Dentists

As you would your annual visit to the PCP, you visit a dentist the same way, except twice a year. Those bi-yearly visits are for regular cleanings and routine dental assessments.

A general dentist takes care of those visitations.

At the general dentist, you find out about the overall health of your teeth. If you need to see a specialist for services they’re not qualified to perform, they refer you out.


You would think a regular dentist could fix your crooked smile. But, no. Braces, retainers, other oral devices get handled by a specialist.

The orthodontist is a professional dental expert who specializes in fixing misaligned teeth. If your jaw needs alignment, you’d need an orthodontist.


When the health of the gums go beyond what general cleanings can manage, a periodontist steps in.

A periodontist specializes in the area of periodontology—and focuses on diseases that affect the gums. They treat issues like gum disease, periodontal diseases, and provide prevention measures.

Periodontists also offer other treatments—dental implants, gum graft surgery, and crown lengthening.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

These are surgeons who perform invasive surgeries on the hard and soft tissues in the mouth.

They’re called oral and maxillofacial surgeons. Some people call them cosmetic dentists or people who perform cosmetic dentistry.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons deal with the gums, hard and soft palate, tongue, lips, and cheeks. They also operate on facial tissues. So, for hard to remove teeth and in-depth jaw corrections, you would undergo oral surgery.

Patients who need reconstructive surgery would also see an oral surgeon. That includes cleft lips and palates and the extraction of cancerous tissue.


The inside of a tooth suffers wear and tear as well as the outside. For help dealing with pulp — the innermost part of the tooth below the gumline — visit an endodontist.

When the pulp goes bad, an endodontist performs a root canal. In most cases, the endodontist tries to salvage the tooth through preservation treatments. Expect to receive a referral from your general dentist if they suspect damaged or rotten pulp in a tooth.

Visit the Dentist

Your oral health matters as much as your physical health. Depending on the dental issue, you need to know the different types of dentists to visit.

If you have any suspicions about the health inside your mouth, call on one of the specialists above for help.

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