Exploring Dental Assisting: Dental Specialists

dental assistant trainingUnderstanding the different types of dental specialists can help steer your career into areas that interest you most

If you are interested in becoming a dental assistant, you may envision yourself working at a general dentist’s office. But have you ever thought about dental specialists? There is a wide array of dental specialties–from pediatric dentists who specialize in treating children, to endodontists who specialize in performing root canals.

As you develop your career, you may want to consider these specialties and consider gaining additional training to learn the skills necessary in these fields.

General dentist
General dentists are primary providers of dental care. They manage your overall dental health, and provide procedures such as cleanings, fillings, crowns, root canals, veneers, and gum care.

Endodontists specialize in treating the soft inner tissue of the teeth, called the dental pulp. They perform root canal treatments and other surgical root procedures. These procedures help to alleviate dental pain that may be caused by cracked teeth, trauma, or infection.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeon
This type of surgeon provides surgical procedures involving the face, mouth, and jaw. They perform operations such as tooth extractions, removal of impacted teeth, biopsies, repairing fractured cheek bones or jaw bones, cleft palate repair, and removal of tumors.

Orthodontists are specialists who treat malocculsions (“bad bites”) through processes such as braces, bands, wires, and other appliances. These procedures straighten the teeth and help to align the jaw correctly.

Pediatric dentist
Pediatric dentists specialize in children’s dental care. They are specially trained to work with children’s developing teeth, as well as in handling the needs of young children as patients.

Periodontists provide treatment for the areas around the teeth, including the gums and the bones that support the teeth. They treat gingivitis, which is an inflammation of the gums, as well as periodontitis, which refers to gum and bone disease. Some of the procedures they use include deep pocket cleanings, root planing, soft tissue grafting, bone grafting, flap procedures, and dental implant placement.

A prosthodontist is specialized in repairing natural teeth and replacing missing teeth with artificial teeth. Prosthodontists use a variety of methods to replace missing teeth, such as dentures, crowns, and dental implants.

As you pursue career training in the field of dental assisting, learning about these specialties may help you decide what kind of office would be best for you. More information about these dental specialties is available on the American Dental Association’s website.

If you are interested in learning more about dental assistant training, visit the American Dental Assistants Association at http://www.dentalassistant.org/.

This article was provided by the Harris School of Business. The Harris School offers dental assistant training in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Visit our home page to learn more about the career-focused training programs offered at the Harris School.