A lot of people probably think of the field of dentistry as very small. While general dentistry is certainly a far more focused field than general medicine, for example, the dentistry industry and profession actually accompanies a far more broad set of specialties.
Much like a medical school student, for example, would move into a separate program to earn a specialty (like radiology, pharmacology, phlebotomy, etc), dental students can also take on certain special areas of focus as well. As a matter of fact there are nine recognized Clinique Dentaire Des Cedres dental specialties recognized in the United States and Canada (thirteen, in the United Kingdom and Australia).
The Nine [North American] Dental Specialties
In North America, a dental student can choose to focus on any of these nine specialties:
- Dental public health—the study of dentistry-related epidemiology in association with social health policy
- Endodontics—a study on diseases of the dental pulp with a focus on root canal therapy
- Oral and maxillofacial pathology—studying for diagnosis, and occasionally, the treatment of both oral and maxillofacial diseases
- Oral and maxillofacial surgery—dealing with implantation, extraction, and other facial surgery
- Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics—the study and practice of straightening teeth as well as the modification of midface and mandibular growth
- Periodontics/periodontology—the study and the treatment of both surgical and non-surgical periodontium diseases; also the study of the placement and maintenance of dental implants
- Pediatric dentistry—once called “pedodontics,” this is the study of dentistry specifically for children
- Prosthodontics—the study, practice, and administration of dentures, bridges, and the restoration of implants
Other Specialties Dental Students Could Study
Now, of course, there are many other even more specific specialties that a dental student could study. The market is certainly broader than it has ever been and dental students have a lot of areas to choose from.
- Dental anesthesiology is a specialty in which you learn how to relieve pain through the more advanced uses of both local and general anesthesia techniques. It is not recognized as an official dental specialty but since anesthesia is used often in dental surgeries, this field is growing.
- Special needs dentistry is a field, of course, in which you might focus on not only dentistry but also how to work with people who have special needs. While it may not be an official specialty in North America, it has been recognized by the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons
- Forensic Odontology is the gathering and use of dental evidence in the legal field. Primarily these professionals identify and verify documents (like dental impressions and dental records)