q How Many Types of Dentists Are There? - Harcourt Health

How Many Types of Dentists Are There?

Just as with doctors, there are many different types of dentists that perform different actions. You aren’t going to want to go to a heart surgeon when you need someone to check out your foot and you wouldn’t call a dermatologist for brain cancer.

While many dentists will follow the same educational route, their post dental school choices will affect what kind of dentist they are and what kind of services they offer through their practice. Even if you grew up practicing perfect dental hygiene, you’re still going to go see some type of dentist on a regular basis. 

While many people might be familiar with a few types of dentists, we are going to roll through the seven main different specialties to see if you need to visit a different type of dentist.

General Dentist

No, this isn’t the name of an old WWII general who served in the Paficic, but the dentist that most people are familiar with. General dentists are going to be in control over the majority of your oral health care. It’s where you’ll go for checkups, x-rays and reminding you how often you should be flossing or ways to take care of your teeth.

Most people see their general dentist twice a year, about once every six months for a cleaning and general checkup. 

While pediatric dentistry falls under a different speciality, they are essentially the same as general dentists except for children. Like general dentists, they’ll be able to advise on other areas or at least give recommendations when it comes to other specialities. 


Even though the majority of dental work, and general dentistry knowledge, is about the teeth, your gums also play an important role. Gingivitis is an all too common gum disease that affects most people at least once in their lives.

Besides gingivitis, there are other serious gum issues. That’s where periodontists come in. They are the ones to advise and treat any gum diseases or issues. If the gums have been damaged by disease or physical injury, they are the ones that will help repair your gums.


The second dentist that most have some knowledge of, orthodontists are the ones who will help correct any teeth or jaw issues through the use of wires or brackets.

While most people have to have braces at least once in their life, those lucky few may also go to dentists for implanting a bar along the bottom or top four or having a retainer fitted in order to make sure teeth are not shifting over time. 

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

When it comes to dentists, these tend to be the most unique out of all the specialties. After finishing dentistry school, oral and maxillofacial surgeons spent time in a hospital to finalize their studies.

They work on anything with around the lower face, like your lips, tongue, cheeks, jaw, facial tissues and more. 

Instead of typical checkups or small procedures, oral and maxillofacial surgeons will be dealing with more invasive surgeries, reconstructive surgeries and more. They also work much more with hospital doctors in finding various diseases like cancer.

There are actually different specialities under this branch as well that deal with radiology and pathology, but if you’re going to one you’ll likely be seeing all of them as well. 


This long-worded dentist are the cosmetic surgeons of dentistry. If you need teeth whitening, veneers, crowns or bridges, they’re the dentists to go to. Many people struggle with receding gums, and there are no better dentists for the job than cosmetic dentists.

Finding a cosmetic dentist in your area can be a bit difficult and they are rarely covered by insurance. If you’re going for treatment on broken or damaged teeth because of health reasons, then you will be covered. If not, expect to pay out of pocket. 


Everyone has heard of a root canal before, correct? This painful surgery is performed by endontonists, who specialize in the area around the gums and bottom of the teeth.

People need root canals when this area becomes untreatable and to save the tooth and gum areas, surgery must be performed. Hopefully, you’ll never have to visit an endontonist as long as you keep up sound dental hygiene.