The Specialties of Dentistry

I know you all here me say perio this, or pedo that, but what does all of that actually mean.



Below are the 9 recognized specialties of dentistry;

Pediatric Dentistry (PEDO) – Dentistry for kids

Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology – Mainly focuses on head and neck pathology

Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology- Mainly focuses on radiology to the head and neck

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery- Mainly focuses on everything in and around the upper and lower jaw

Dental Public Health- Self explanatory

Prosthodontics (PROSTH)- Dentistry involving prosthetic procedures (dentures, crowns, etc.)

Orthodontics (ORTHO)- Dentistry focused on straightening teeth, braces and/or moving the upper and lower jaws

Periodontics (PERIO)- Dentistry focused on the study of the gums

Endodontics (ENDO)- Dentistry focused on root canals


During dental school, we learn about certain specifics of each specialty, which gives us the opportunity to chose a path for residency if need be. The length of residencies vary depending on the speciality of your choice. The heaviest classes are the ones that you will see a lot of in a typical general dentist practice. They typically include Prosthodontics, Periodontics, Pediatric Dentistry, and Endodontics.

Prosthodontics is the heaviest in school and in general practice.

The best part about general dentistry is that you can study it all vs. if you specialize you typically have to stay within that specialty. General dentistry allows you to go as far as yourself allows. I know general dentists that place implants and do a few orthodontic cases, I know general dentists that don’t do any root canals and only see children over 15 years of age, and I know dentists that hate general dentistry (orthodontist). The choice is yours.

If you are unsure about a specialty, go shadow! I highly recommend shadowing a few specialties before and during dental school. The time it takes to decide sneaks up on you pretty fast and sometimes decisions are made based off of the wrong reasons. I shadowed oral surgery and orthodontics before dental school, ultimately deciding on orthodontics. Then as I matriculated through school I began considering pediatric dentistry and prosthodontics, until I finally realized that I didn’t want to give one up over the other. General Dentistry is definitely for me!

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