Most dentists offer a full range of dental services in a general setting. Depending on individual circumstances, dentists my seek advice or refer a patient to a specialist.
For information on specialties in dentistry, visit the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada (CDAC).
An endodontist is a dentist with special training in diagnosing and treating problems associated with the pulp of the tooth. They perform routine as well as difficult and very complex endodontic procedures, including re-treatment of previous root canals that have not healed completely, and endodontic surgery. Endodontists are also experienced at finding the cause of oral and facial pain, which is often difficult to diagnose. To become an endodontist, an additional two or more years of advanced training in endodontics is required after graduating from dental school.
For more information visit the Canadian Academy of Endodontics.
An orthodontist is a specialist in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. The technical term for these problems is malocclusion, which means bad bite. The practice of orthodontics requires professional skill in the design, application and control of corrective appliances (braces) to bring teeth, lips and jaws into proper alignment and achieve facial balance.
To become an orthodontist, two to three years of advanced coursework in orthodontics is required after graduating from dental school. During this training the orthodontist learns the skills required to manage tooth movement and guide facial development.
For more information visit the Canadian Association of Orthodontists.
Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons are specialists who have furthered their education with four to six years of additional residency training in surgery, medicine, and anesthesia following dental school. This intensive training is based in major medical centers. Oral surgery residents spend time in the operating room, clinics and hospital wards treating patients who have conditions of the teeth, jaws, and face. Following their training, oral surgeons in Canada are required to obtain the fellowship of the Royal College of Dentists of Canada in order to practise their specialty.
Oral surgeons perform dental extractions including third molars (wisdom teeth) using local anesthesia, and in many cases, deep sedation. They also perform surgeries to the jaws treating conditions such as dental and facial deformities, malocclusions (the alignment of teeth) and temporomandibular joints (TMJ) disorders. The majority of these procedures are carried out in a hospital, usually in the operating room under general anesthesia. In addition, oral and maxillofacial surgeons have pioneered many of the techniques used to ensure the success of dental implants.
For more information visit the Canadian Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.
Oral Medicine & Pathology
Oral medicine and pathology is the specialty of dentistry concerned with the diagnosis, nature and primarily non-surgical management of oral, maxillofacial (upper jaw and mid-face) and temporomandibular (jaw joint) diseases and disorders, including dental management of patients with medical complications.
The oral pathology component of the specialty deals with the diagnosis of oral and maxillofacial disorders using clinical, radiographic, and/or microscopic examinations, and the management of patients with these diseases. The practice includes the operation of biopsy services (assessment of tissue samples) for dental and medical professionals.
The oral medicine component of the specialty deals with the oral health care of medically compromised patients (patients with significant medical conditions), and with the diagnosis and the management of disorders affecting the oral and maxillofacial region that do not respond to surgery.
A pediatric dentist specializes in the oral health and the unique needs of young people. They are certified specialists in dental care for infants, children and adolescents, including those with special health care needs.
To become a pediatric dentist, two to three years of additional education at an accredited advanced dental education program are required after graduating from dental school.
For more information visit the Canadian Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
A periodontist is a specialist that deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of gum disease, cosmetic plastic surgery and the replacement of teeth with dental implants. Periodontists are familiar with the latest diagnostic and treatment techniques. Usually, patients go to a periodontist because their dentist has referred them. However, patients can go directly to a periodontist for a consultation.
To become a periodontist, three years of advanced coursework is required after graduating from dental school.
For more information visit the Canadian Academy of Periodontology.
A prosthodontist is a specialist in the restoration and maintenance of oral function, comfort, appearance and health, dealing specifically with the replacement of missing teeth and oral tissues with artificial substitutes such as crowns, bridges, veneers, dentures and implant prostheses. They also perform esthetic procedures, including reshaping teeth, bonding, veneers, crowns, color matching and total smile design.
In order to become a prosthodontist, extensive graduate school training beyond the standard dental degree is required.
For more information visit the Association of Prosthodontists of Canada.