Perhaps you were the kid that wanted to see the rat skull in your friend’s backyard because you wanted to look at its teeth. Maybe you are the type of person now that analyzes dental problems when someone you meet first smiles. Some people are just meant to be dentists, but there are many different areas of specialization you can explore beyond general dentistry. You can go down a particular path of education to tailor your specific fascinations to your future profession. There are nine certifiable specialties recognized by the American Dental Association that you can choose from.
- Dental Public Health – Dentists in this field work to prevent dental diseases within a community and control any diseases that arise, as well as promote public awareness of the need for oral health care.
- Endodontics – This specialty focuses on the condition of the human dental pulp (the inside part of the tooth) and tissues. Dentists study the biology of the pulp and how to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases there.
- Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology – These dentists research and treat conditions, diseases, defects and injuries causing and/or contributing to functional and esthetic problems in the mouth, teeth, jaws and face.
- Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology – These specialists interpret radiology scans to diagnose diseases or show the general condition of the mouth, teeth, jaws, and face.
- Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery – An advanced degree that teaches dentists how to perform corrective surgery for problems with the tissues in the oral and maxillofacial regions.
- Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics – These specialists correct the improper placement of the teeth with braces and other therapies.
- Pediatric Dentistry – Dentists in this specialty work with infants and children to provide preventative and therapeutic dental services.
- Periodontics – This specialty includes the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of problems with the tissue surrounding the teeth.
- Prosthodontics – Prosthodontists provide solutions and comfort for those suffering from deficient or missing teeth.
The first step for any of these dental specialties is to get a degree in general dentistry, or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree. If any of these specialized fields seem particularly interesting to you, then you might want to consider an education that goes above and beyond by continuing your education with advanced degrees or getting the proper certifications to do what you love in the field of oral health.