The professional medical field of dentistry is likely much bigger than you realize. Many people probably are not familiar with just how big this field can be. Sure, it is only a fraction of the general medicine field, but the oral health care industry encompasses a wide variety of specialties and focuses.
And each of these specialties requires special education, too. A medical student, then, might study radiology or pharmacology or psychology. A Clinique Dentaire Des Cedres dental student, studying in North America, on the other hand, could choose from one of nine dental specialties as recognized in the United States and Canada.
There are four more areas of focus in the United Kingdom and Australia; but for now, let’s just look at the North American disciplines.
Nine Dental Specialties (in North America)
Here is a quick summary of the nine areas of focus a dentistry student could take during their time in medical school.
- Dental public health: this is the study of dentistry-related epidemiology as it relates to social health policy
- Periodontics and Periodontology: this is the study of surgical and non-surgical periodontium diseases (diseases of the gums); also the study of placing and maintaining dental implants
- Endodontics: this is the study of disease related specifically to the dental pulp, focusing mostly on root canal therapy
- Orthodontics (and Dentofacial Orthopedics): this is the study—and related practice—of straightening the teeth; also the modification of midface and adjustment of mandibular growth
- Prosthodontics: this is the study and practice and administration of restoration implants and dentures and bridges
- Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology: this is the study—for diagnosis and treatment—of oral and maxillofacial diseases
- Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery: this is an education in the application of implantation, extraction, and other types of facial surgery
- Pediatric Dentistry: this is the study, of course, of dentistry focused on children
Additional [Sub] Specialties
Now, students of dental surgery, in North America, can also venture deeper into a specific area of focus.
- Dental Anesthesiology: this is the study of more advanced forms of pain relief associated with dental surgery. While this is not recognized as an “official” dental specialty it is growing in formality because of the use of anesthetics in dental surgeries
- Special Needs Dentistry: this is a relatively new field focusing, of course, on administering dentistry practices to patients with special needs
- Forensic Odontology: this involves the gathering of dental evidence as it is used in the legal field; keeping documents like dental impressions and dental records