Understanding The Differences Between Dentists

When you think of going to the dentist, you might not realize that there are different types of dentists. Some dentists get specialized training that permits them to provide specific services or treat specific dental conditions. This might seem confusing because many individuals assume that one dentist can take care of all of their oral health needs. Sometimes referrals to other dentists are necessary to address certain situations. The following points will provide a brief explanation of different types of dentists and their services.

General Dentists

Most individuals start their oral health care appointments with general dentists. They can provide a variety of valuable services and are key to identifying issues that may require a referral to a different dentist or close monitoring. They provide services such as dental exams, cleanings, dental fillings, dental crowns, root canals, teeth whitening, and certain types of tooth extractions. 

Pediatric Dentists

These dentists provide similar services as general dentists. However, they only provide services to children. Their additional training equips them to better understand children. Pediatric dentist offices are usually decorated in a manner that is attractive to children. They can be a calming environment for children with dental anxieties and those with special needs.

Geriatric Dentists

The elderly population has oral healthcare needs as well. Seniors can rely on general dentists. However, some caretakers may opt for a geriatric dentist for their senior loved ones. Seniors who can make their own decisions might also opt for this type of dentist for specialized care. 


Referrals to periodontists may be made when general dentists observe signs of advanced gum disease. Their services vary, but they can set up treatment plans that treat gum disease. These plans are often vital to reverse gum disease and reduce the chances of teeth falling out or needing to be extracted. These dentists may also provide restorative services such as dental implants. 

Maxillofacial Surgeons

These dental professionals are commonly referred to as oral surgeons. They perform complex extractions such as wisdom teeth removals and removing multiple teeth due to crowding. Individuals who lose teeth due to trauma and those who require corrective procedures to correct facial structure and jawbone issues get referred to these dental professionals. 

Cosmetic Dentists

Sometimes individuals want the perfect smile. There might not be any oral disease present. Missing teeth, alignment issues, discolorations, and other cosmetic imperfections are often handled by these professionals. They have a variety of solutions they can extend to patients, such as dental veneers and implants. 

As you can tell, there are a variety of dental professionals. Some dentist offices have more than one type of dentist. You can use the dentist that most closely matches your needs as a resource to better understand how they can help you.