Thursday Thirteen-Dental Data

Thanks to Shannon and her dentist hubby Brian for answering my dental questions! I’ve always wondered about the specialties, jobs and schooling involved in the dental profession, so for this weeks Thursday Thirteen, here’s my list.
1. DDS stands for Doctor of Dental Surgery
2. DMD stands for Doctor of Dental Medicine
3. Ever wonder about the minimum amount of schooling a dentist has completed in order to have their degree? Schooling for a general dentist includes 4 years of undergrad courses and 4 years of dental school. Specialists go longer and it varies by specialty.
4. Dental Boards: There are 2 sets of boards. 1 at the end of the first or second year of dental (depending on the state/school) and one in the middle of the fourth year. 1st set is written only. Second set is 2 days written and 2 days practical.
5. Hygienists require a 2 year associates degree
6. Dental Assistants: Assistants do not have to be certified and no special schooling is required. Some states allow expanded duties for assistants (ie finish fillings after Dr. has numbed and removed decay) and this requires certification. I’m not sure what states this includes.
7.Endodontics Endodontics is the branch of dentistry which is concerned with the morphology, physiology and pathology of the human dental pulp and periradicular tissues. Its study and practice encompass the basic and clinical sciences including biology of the normal pulp, the etiology, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases and injuries of the pulp and associated periradicular conditions. (Adopted by the ADA December, 1983) So, if you need a root canal, an Endodentist is who you’d see.
8. Oral and Maxiofacial Pathology,Radiology, Surgery
Oral pathology is the specialty of dentistry and discipline of pathology that deals with the nature, identification, and management of diseases affecting the oral and maxillofacial regions. It is a science that investigates the causes, processes, and effects of these diseases. The practice of oral pathology includes research and diagnosis of diseases using clinical, radiographic, microscopic, biochemical, or other examinations. (Adopted by the ADA May, 1991)

Oral and maxillofacial radiology is the specialty of dentistry and discipline of radiology concerned with the production and interpretation of images and data produced by all modalities of radiant energy that are used for the diagnosis and management of diseases, disorders and conditions of the oral and maxillofacial region. (Adopted by the ADA April, 2001)

Oral and maxillofacial surgery is the specialty of dentistry which includes the diagnosis, surgical and adjunctive treatment of diseases, injuries and defects involving both the functional and esthetic aspects of the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region. (Adopted by the ADA October, 1990)

9. Orthodontics and Dentalfacial Orthopedics
Orthodontics is the area of dentistry concerned with the supervision, guidance and correction of the growing or mature dentofacial structures, including those conditions that require movement of teeth or correction of malrelationships and malformations of their related structures and the adjustment of relationships between and among teeth and facial bones by the application of forces and/or the stimulation and redirection of functional forces within the craniofacial complex. Major responsibilities of orthodontic practice include the diagnosis, prevention, interception and treatment of all forms of malocclusion of the teeth and associated alterations in their surrounding structures; the design, application and control of functional and corrective appliances; and the guidance of the dentition and its supporting structures to attain and maintain optimum occlusal relations in physiologic and esthetic harmony among facial and cranial structures.
(Definition Adopted by the ADA December, 1980)
(Designation Adopted by the ADA October, 1994)

10. Pediatric Dentistry
Pediatric Dentistry is an age-defined specialty that provides both primary and comprehensive preventive and therapeutic oral health care for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health care needs.
(Adopted by the ADA 1995)

11. Periodontics
Periodontics is the specialty of dentistry which encompasses the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the supporting and surrounding tissues of the teeth or their substitutes and the maintenance of the health, function and esthetics of these structures and tissues. (Adopted by the ADA December, 1992). Need a soft tissue graft? The Periodontist is your man/woman.

12. Prosthodontics
Prosthodontics is the branch of dentistry pertaining to the restoration and maintenance of oral functions, comfort, appearance and health of the patient by the restoration of natural teeth and/or the replacement of missing teeth and contiguous oral and maxillofacial tissues with artificial substitutes. (Adopted by the ADA May, 1976)

13. Anesthesia-Oral surgeons can anesthetize and other doctors can get special training and certification to be able to do it in their practice. I highly recommend IV sedation when having one’s wisdom teeth removed.


  1. 1

    Are You Serious! says

    ♡ I never realized there wer THAT many different types of dentistry! I wish I’d have known they could do a sedation for wisdom teeth! I was totally awake and still can remember the cracking and pulling and ewww! So not pleasant…

  2. 2

    Don Mills Diva says

    Who knew all this stuff? Don’t you feel better knowing you were in capable hands?

    Glad you’re all better, BTW.

  3. 3

    Laura says

    This was so funny to me. You must be thinking way too much about dentistry in your current condition. Ha ha.

    I did not have anything when I had my wisdom teeth out (as you know). I was so scared. In the end, I was glad. What was horrible was just the recovery. So glad I did it though. I think I am going to make an appointment with an orthodontist next week.

  4. 4

    Robin says

    This is very timely – my entire family has been at the dentist this month. In fact, Itai’s going in a second time for a cleaning on Sunday.

  5. 6

    Hazel Nut says

    It’s good to be informed. I’ve have good experiences and very bad experiences at the dentist – one of the very bad ones involved a crown by someone woefully inexperienced. I refused to pay – and he didn’t press the issue, probably glad I didn’t sue!

  6. 9

    Crazymamaof6 says

    awesome list of dental goodness! good to know! i ♥ the oral surgeon. and i only do a local for wisdom teeth, he’s that good. or am i just that cheap? i mean TOUGH! heehehe! good list.

  7. 11

    Gunnisac Sandersons says

    whew! That is a lot of information. The sad thing is I didn’t know half of it, and I was a dental assistant once uopn a time! Thanks

  8. 12

    carrie & troy keiser says

    Interesting post. Some of those things I knew and some I didn’t, thanks for asking and posting all you newly acquired knowledge!

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