As an orthodontic patient, you are probably more aware than most that the dental world involves a variety of specialties – orthodontics being one of nine dental specialties identified by the American Dental Association (ADA).
Because there are myriad factors involved in taking care of your mouth, teeth, gums, and jaw, we sometimes call on our partners who specialize in different areas of dentistry. You can think of us and our partners as a team of dental superheroes, each with a different special power – although we usually work alone, we rely on each other for backup in tricky situations.
You were most likely referred to us by your general dentist, who diagnosed your need for orthodontic treatment. In turn, we may need to refer you to a different type of specialist, should we spot any indication of a different type of problem.
Below you'll find a handy reference guide to each of the nine dental specialties recognized by the ADA. Of course, should we ever refer you to another doctor, we will explain in detail exactly why your individual oral health requires a closer look by a particular specialist.
Dentists specializing in Endodontics are focused on the dental pulp, or soft tissue inside your teeth. As such, they are authorities on root canal treatment (extraction of the pulp from an infected tooth). With expertise in both root canal treatment and avulsion (salvaging teeth that have been knocked out), endodontists are the tooth-saviors of the dental world.
Probably the best-known of the dental specialties, Orthodontics sets its sights on tooth and jaw alignment and bite problems such as overbites and underbites. (These problems are known in the field as malocclusion, or "bad bite.") Orthodontists straighten and align teeth and jaws, most often using appliances such as braces and retainers.Orthodontics
Experts in the tissues that support the teeth (gums and other areas), periodontists are most often associated with the treatment of periodontal (gum) disease. Periodontists also treat complications arising from gum disease, such as lost bone and gum tissue.Periodontics
In this specialty, dentists are concerned with diseases that affect the oral, jaw, and facial areas. Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology includes diagnosis as well as research into the causes and effects of these diseases.Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology
Specialists in Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology are trained to produce and interpret radiologic (x-ray) images and data, which are used to diagnose and manage conditions of the oral, jaw, and facial regions.Oral & Maxillofacial Radiology
Surgery involving the bones and tissues of the face, mouth, and neck is the task of the oral surgeon. Operations include wisdom teeth removal, orthognathic (jaw) surgery, dental implants, and surgery to remove cancer. This specialty also includes cosmetic facial surgery, which can address birth defects and ease the effects of trauma, accidents, and aging.Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
Commonly known as Pediatric Dentistry, Pedodontics is the branch of dentistry dedicated to the oral care of infants and children. Trained in child development and psychology as well as dentistry, experts in this field are especially attuned to children's needs, and focus heavily on preventative care.Pedodontics
Prosthodontics is the dental specialty pertaining to tooth restoration and replacement, providing a variety of options to either fix or replace problem teeth. From crowns and veneers, which work with the teeth in your mouth, to bridges and dentures, which replace them outright, prosthodontists identify the best solution for damaged or missing teeth.Prosthodontics
For those specializing in Dental Public Health, the community itself is the focus, rather than individual patients. Dentists practicing in this field concentrate on educating the public about dental health, as well as researching, preventing, and controlling dental diseases throughout a community.Dental Public Health