Dentistry has nine specialty fields recognized by the American Dental Association, each of which requires additional schooling beyond the four years associated with DDS and DMD degrees:
- Dental Public Health focuses on social oral health policies and the study of patterns, causes and control of diseases of the oral cavity among various groups of people (dental epidemiology).
- Endodontics focuses on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting the dental pulp and periradicular tissues. Root canal therapy is the most commonly performed endodontic procedure.
- Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology focuses on the study, diagnosis, and treatment of a wide variety of diseases related to the mouth, jaw and face (and accompanying structures).
- Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology focuses on the radiologic interpretation of diseases related to the mouth, jaw and face (and accompanying structures); here, imaging devices are used to study diseases of the oral and maxillofacial regions of the body.
- Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery focuses on surgeries related to the mouth, jaw, and face (and accompanying structures). Dental implants, reconstructive surgery, cleft lip and palate procedures, and other oral surgeries are just a few of the procedures that fall within an oral and maxillofacial surgeon’s field of expertise.
- Orthodontics focuses on the straightening of teeth and the correction of malocclusion (misaligned bite) using dental braces and retainers. Orthodontia has become an increasingly popular field of dentistry within the United States over the last 20 years.
- Pedodontics (Pediatric Dentistry) focuses on the dental treatment of children.
- Periodontics focuses on the treatment of the supporting structures of the teeth, including the treatment of bacterial infections affecting the gum tissue (periodontal disease).
- Prosthodontics focuses on the creation of prostheses and restorations such as complete dentures, dental crowns, dental implants and dental bridges. Prosthodontics can also be used for the treatment of facial anatomy abnormalities.