Once I was asked to recommend a dentist Liverpool Street and though I did not live there, I was able find a few dental practices after a simple Google search. It was then that it struck me that it didn’t use to be like this. Dentistry, optometry, medicine and healthcare in general have come a very long way in the last couple centuries.
Long time ago, dentists used to be those medical professionals who were known for almost one thing: tooth removal! That was several centuries and millennia ago. At that time, the knowledge of dentistry was still in its infancy and not much can be done for a person’s teeth, let alone mouth.
But not today. Not in 2020 and beyond. Depending on the region in the world, there are at least 9 recognized specialties in dentistry and we will briefly run through them here.
The practitioner of orthodontics – known as an orthodontist – is a dentist who has been trained in this field so as to be able to correct dental incongruencies. We are talking about misaligned teeth, malocclusions of the teeth and other dentofacial conditions which manifest as incongruent alignments.
This is dentistry for children and the young as the name gives away. Now, while it would seem that dental challenges are a thing for adults, a good number of children show early signs of dental anomalies too. You may have seen kids wearing dentures, I suppose. That’s a sign that they constitute a decent chunk of the population that visit dentists annually.
This aspect of dentistry deals with the diagnoses and treatment of dental diseases which affect the tissues that surround the teeth. These could be the gum or jaw as well as their processes.
This is prosthesis at the dental level. Basically, a prosthodontist is a dentist who has mastered the art of using artificial substitutes to replace or support dental/oral tissues. This is done in a bid to maintain a cosmetically appealing dental/oral exterior while improving function in the event of tissue loss or damage.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
They treatment, repair and reconstruction of tissues and structures of the jaws and related regions. The range of treatment of these surgeons is pretty broad and ranges from teeth removal to treatment on tumours and more.
This branch of dentistry deals with diseases of the inside of individual teeth. Talk about root canal, pulp and more. More information about endodontics can be found here.
Public Health Dentistry
While this may not be popular in the UK, it is fully recognized in the US and Canada. Dentists who specialize in this field are more vested in dental outreach to underserved populations and generally focused on community-based dentistry. Usually, the individual who seeks to be accepted into this specialty must first obtain a dental degree and a master’s degree in public health dentistry. This will be followed by a one-year training that culminates in an examination by the American Board of Dental Public Health.
Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology
Experts in oral and maxillofacial radiology are trained to perform X-rays on the human oral cavity.
Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
This is pathology at the oral level. Basically it is about diagnosing diseases of the mouth as a whole from which other dental experts can proceed with treatment.