Dentists diagnose, prevent, and
treat teeth and tissue problems. They remove decay, fill cavities, examine x
rays, place protective plastic sealants on children's teeth, straighten teeth,
and repair fractured teeth. They also perform corrective surgery on gums and
supporting bones to treat gum diseases. Dentists extract teeth and make models
and measurements for dentures to replace missing teeth.
provide instruction on diet, brushing, flossing, use of fluorides, and other
aspects of dental care, as well. They also administer anesthetics and write
prescriptions for antibiotics and other medications. Dentists use a variety of
equipment, including x-ray machines, drills, and instruments such as mouth
mirrors, probes, forceps, brushes, and scalpels. They wear masks, gloves, and
safety glasses to protect themselves and their patients from infectious
diseases. They may employ and supervise dental hygienists, dental assistants,
dental laboratory, and technicians.
Most dentists are general
practitioners, handling a variety of dental needs.
Orthodontists, the largest group
of specialists, straighten teeth by applying pressure to the teeth with braces
The next largest group, oral and
maxillofacial surgeons, operate on the mouth and jaws.
dentists, focus on dentistry for children.
Periodontists are specialized in
treating gums and bone supporting the teeth.
Prosthodontists are specialized
in replacing missing teeth with permanent fixtures, such as crowns and bridges,
or removable fixtures, such as dentures.
Endodontists perform root canal
and finally public health
dentists (promoting good dental health and preventing dental diseases within the
Oral pathologists (studying oral
diseases); or oral and maxillofacial radiologists who are specialized in
diagnosing diseases in the head and neck through the use of imaging