What Are the Different Types of Oral (Dental) Professionals?

If you are like most people, you have probably been seeing a dentist since you were a child.  Typically, you go about once every six months for a professional cleaning and assessment; and if you do your job (and brush and floss, etc, etc) that is about all the professional oral care you will need for most of your life.

Sometimes, though, your Des Cedres Dental Clinic dentist might think you need a particular surgery or procedure. They might, then, recommend that you see a specialist. This works very similar to when you see your primary care physician and they send you to a urologist or a gastroenterologist or a podiatrist because you have a specific problem with a particular part of the body.  

Your dentist might, then, recommend that you see a periodontist or an orthodontist.  Image result for What Are the Different Types of Oral (Dental) Professionals?


When you visit a dentist, it will generally include a professional cleaning (by the dental hygienist, not the dentist) as well as an analysis of your teeth by the dentist.  They will sit down and tap, pick, and observe your teeth up close to find any abnormalities or problems.  They will look at x-rays of your jaw to see if there are any problems under the surface too. In some cases, they might perform simple surgical procedures like a filling or a crown.


If your dentist (or even your primary care physician) feels like you have an issue with your gums, they will send you to the periodontist.  A periodontist is a professional with specialized training in dental implants and, most importantly, diagnosing and treating conditions related to oral inflammation.  A periodontist can:

    • analyze, diagnose, and treat the periodontal diseases
    • perform cosmetic periodontal procedures
    • perform specialized periodontal procedures including (but not limited to) scaling, root planting, and root surface debridement
    • treat patients suffering from gum problems


If your dentist (or primary care physician, sometimes) feels you may have an issue specifically related to your teeth and, especially, the jaw, they may recommend that you see an orthodontist.  Anyone who has ever had braces has definitely visited an orthodontist.  But while that is probably the most common experience people have with this particular oral specialty, an orthodontist can do so much more. For example, they may:

    • straighten crooked teeth (a la braces, et al)
    • adjust your bite
    • fix the jaw
Felisha Parrish

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