Know the Difference: The Many Types of Dentists Today

You know you need to go to the dentist, but which one? Did you know that there are many different kinds of dental experts? Here is a list of the different doctors you can see and when you should see them.

The General Dentist

Of the 143,000 dentists in North America, about 80% of them are generalists. This is who you would normally see for routine dental care. They actually do several different services, including preventative services, restorative services, cosmetic procedures, and overall health concerns.

Preventative services include things like cleaning and x-rays, professional teeth cleaning, and consults as well as diagnostics.

Restorative services include fixing dental problems after they’re been diagnosed. These can include removing plaque on teeth, removing tooth decay and placing a filling in place. They can also give you immediate treatment for dental trauma and treat the causes of tooth pain or periodontal disease.

Some dentists offer more advanced treatments like root canal therapy, orthodontics, dental implants, and more.

Cosmetic procedures include tooth whitening and bonding, veneers, and other cosmetic procedures.

So, if you need an Invisalign Dentist or Orthodontist in NYC, this is the type of dentist you want to look for.

Cosmetic Dentist

These dentists focus more heavily on the cosmetic side of dentistry than generalists. And, while general dentists are able to perform cosmetic dentistry, it’s not their specialty. Specific services that cosmetic dentists perform include:

  • Teeth Whitening
  • Crowns
  • Dental Implants
  • Porcelain Veneers
  • Cosmetic Gum Surgery
  • Dental Bridgework
  • Dental Bonding
  • Orthodontic treatment


While there are many things an endodontist can do, the most common procedure is, by far, the root canal. They are experts at this procedure, as well as other similar dental surgical procedures. When a generalist is faced with a patient that can confusing or non-specific pain, or a complicated case that isn’t easily solved with traditional dentistry, an endodontist is called in.

Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon

There are three primary surgeries that an oral and maxillofacial surgeon performs:

  • Tooth extractions
  • Corrective jaw surgery and;
  • Cleft lip or palate surgery.

A tooth extraction is the most common of the three procedures. Patients are often referred by a general dentist when wisdom teeth are impacted. Minor surgery is usually required at that point to remove them.

Corrective jaw surgery is needed when orthodontics isn’t enough to correct a malocclusion or misaligned bite. Sometimes the surgery is needed to repair congenital abnormalities or birth defects.

Finally, a cleft lip or palate surgery is a special type of surgery that’s performed when the facial structure is deformed because of a specific type of birth defect.


This is one of the most popular kind of dentists. Orthodontists concern themselves with malocclusions and correcting conditions like excessive spacing, overbite, underbite, abnormal eruption, overjet, and other similar issues.

Pediatric Dentist

And then there’s the pediatric dentist. This dentist specializes in children’s teeth problems. While much of the work focuses on cleaning and maintenance, a fair amount of the work this type of dentist does is braces work and corrective procedures that will help children grow into their new teeth properly. Pediatric dentists can spot early warning signs and symptoms of over or underbites, crossbites, and other abnormal bite and eruption issues.
Yasmin Hancock has worked at her local dentists surgery for many years. She enjoys seeing the new technology and dentistry methods becoming mainstream and often writes on dentistry topics in her spare time for health blogs.

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