The field of dentistry has a variety of specialties that require additional training after dental school. These specialties include endodontics, orthodontics, periodontics, prosthodontics, and pediatric dentistry. Each of these specialties focuses on a specific area of oral health care and requires specialized knowledge and skills. Pediatric dentistry is similar to pediatrics in medicine and deals with the dental care of children and adolescents.
Periodontics focuses on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases of periodontal tissues, which are the tissues that surround and support teeth. Bacterial plaque is thought to be the main factor responsible for the destruction of these tissues, so periodontists advocate for its removal through a specific hygiene regimen. Prosthodontics is concerned with restoring and maintaining oral function, comfort, appearance, and health by replacing missing teeth and adjoining tissues with artificial substitutes or prosthetics. Prosthodontists have special training in the construction and placement of fixed (stationary) and removable appliances to replace missing teeth.
They also build obturators, prosthetic devices designed to close defects in the palate in cases of cleft palate. Maxillofacial prosthetics is a subspecialty of prosthodontics that involves creating appliances to replace parts of the face and jaws that have been lost due to surgery, illness, congenital disorders, or accident. A general dentist can treat most oral health problems, but specialists are considered experts in their field. Periodontists are dentists who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal (gum) disease.
They have received extensive training with an additional two years of study after dental school. As specialists, they dedicate their time, energy and skill to helping patients care for their gums.Periodontists are one of eight dental specialists recognized by the American Dental Association.