San Mateo County Dental Society (CA)

Dental Specialists

Most patients are familiar with the general dentist. The general dentist is educated to provide comprehensive services from dental examinations to dental surgery. While most dental procedures can be provided by the general dentist, a patient may be referred to a specialist if the general dentist feels special expertise is necessary. The American and California Dental Associations (ADA and CDA) recognize these nine types of dental specialist:


Deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease and injuries of the internal soft tissue of the tooth (root canals).

Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon
Treats injuries and deformities, extracts teeth and performs surgery of the mouth, jaw and face.

Prescribes and places corrective devices, such as braces, to align teeth and improve health and appearance.

Pediatric Dentist
Specializes in the dental health of children from birth through adolescence.

Treats diseases of the gums.

Designs and fits bridge-work and dentures.

Public Health Specialst
Coordinates and administers community-wide dental care programs, including public education on the prevention of dental disease.

Oral & Maxillofacial Radiologist
Uses imaging and associated technology for diagnosis and management of a range of diseases affecting the mouth, jaw, and related area of the head and neck.

Oral Pathologist
Researches the causes, development, and effects of oral diseases.

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