If the treatment you need or want calls for extra training, you or your dentist may be more comfortable if you see a dental specialist.

There are ten recognized dental specialties in Ontario:

Dental Anesthesiologist
A Dental Anesthesiologist is a dentist who is specialized in the practice of anesthesiology for dental treatments. Anaesthesiology is the branch of dentistry (and medicine) involving the use of medications and other agents that create a reversible lack of awareness, blocking of pain and relieving of anxiety and stress for patients receiving dental treatments.

There is a major distinction between an anesthesiologist and an anesthetist. An anesthesiologist has a university degree in anaesthesiology whereas an anesthetist does not. An anesthetist is a nurse or technician trained to administer anesthetics.

A dental anaesthesiologist in Ontario must successfully complete a general dental degree and then a three-year post-graduate degree in dental anaesthesiology at an accredited university, and pass a speciality examination before being recognized and licensed as a specialist. Dental anaesthesiologists are trained to provide sedation or general anaesthesia and dental treatment for the estimated 30 to 40 percent of adults and chiildren who prefer to be asleep during dental treatment.

Most dental anaesthesiologists provide dental treatment concurrently with providing anaesthesia. Some provide only the anaesthesia while another dentist provides the dental treatment.

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Dental Public Health
Dental Public Health involves the diagnosis, prevention and control of dental diseases and the promotion of oral health through organized community efforts. Dental Public Health serves the community through research, health promotion, education and group dental care programs.

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Endodontics is the branch of dentistry that is concerned with what goes on inside your tooth. In fact the word is derived from the Greek word for inside (endo) and tooth (odons). Inside your hard tooth is a space that is filled with soft tissue. This tissue contains blood vessels, nerves and various types of cells that played an important role in the development of the tooth.

Unfortunately, due to trauma or decay, this tissue can become damaged or diseased; but not to worry. This is where the endodontic procedure commonly known as a “root canal” saves the day — or at least your tooth! Using the latest techniques and technologies, the inside of the tooth is comfortably cleaned out and then filled and sealed to prevent recurrent infection.

Most root canals are done by general dentists. Difficult or challenging ones might be referred to an endodontist. An endodontist has received two or three years of special training in endodontics after graduating with a general dentistry degree. Besides root canals, the endodontist is also trained in various surgical procedures, the treatment of traumatic injuries to teeth and the diagnosis of oro-facial pain.

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Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology
Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology involves the prescription, production and interpretation of diagnostic images for the diagnosis and management of diseases and disorders of the craniofacial complex.

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Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons are involved in the diagnosis, surgical and non-surgical treatment of disorders, diseases, injuries and defects, involving the functional and aesthetic aspects of the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial regions and related structures.

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Oral Medicine and Pathology
Oral Medicine and Pathology specialists concentrate on the diagnosis, nature and primarily non-surgical management of oral, maxillofacial and temporomandibular diseases and disorders, including dental management of patients with medical complications. Oral medicine and oral pathology are two applied components of this specialty.

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Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
The Specialty of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. The technical term for these problems is "malocclusion". The practice of orthodontics uses corrective appliances (retainers and/or braces) to bring teeth, lips and jaws into proper alignment and achieve facial balance

"Malocclusion" encompasses crooked, crowded or protruding teeth which do not fit together properly. Literally, the word means "bad bite". Most malocclusions are inherited. These include crowding of teeth, too much space between teeth, extra or missing teeth, cleft palate and a variety of irregularities of the jaws and face.

Some malocclusions are acquired. They can be caused by thumb-sucking, tongue thrusting, dental disease, premature loss of primary or permanent teeth, accidents or some medical problems. Left untreated, these orthodontic problems can become worse. Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain a condition that may contribute to tooth decay, eventual gum disease and tooth loss. A bad bite can also cause abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, difficulty in chewing and excess stress of the supporting bone and gum tissue.

An Orthodontist is a specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Orthodontists must successfully complete an additional residency program of at least two-three years of advanced education in orthodontics after becoming a dentist. This advanced training includes such diverse studies as genetics, embryology, human growth and development, and biophysics. In Canada, only dentists with this advanced specialty education can present themselves as Orthodontists

At one time, most people believed braces were just for children and adolescents. Today, of the thousands of Canadians now in orthodontic treatment, more than one in four is over the age of 21. Because the basic process involved in moving teeth is the same in adults as in children, orthodontic treatment can usually be successful at any age. The health of the teeth, the gums and of the supporting bones will also determine the prospects for improvement.

It is recommended that every child see an orthodontist no later than age seven. Some orthodontic problems are easier to correct if detected early. Only a certified Orthodontist knows the best time to start your orthodontic treatment.

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Pediatric dentists are dental specialists who provide routine, primary and comprehensive dental care for infants, children, adolescents and special needs patients. The pediatric dentist offers children an early and positive start for a lifetime of good dental health. The child’s first dental visit should occur by their first birthday.

Pediatric dentists are considered the “pediatricians” of dentistry. Dental decay is the most common chronic disease in children and without proper care, can affect a child’s overall general health.

Pediatric dentists utilize a variety of skilful behaviour management techniques to minimize the anxiety of dental treatment for children and their parents. The prevention, early detection and treatment of dental disease, as well as the supervision of growth and development, treatment of oral trauma and emergencies, and orthodontic care are the primary goals of the pediatric dentist.

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Periodontics is the branch of dentistry concerned with the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of the diseases and conditions of the supporting and surrounding tissues of the teeth or their substitutes. The term is derived from the Greek word peri, for around, and odont, for tooth.

The destruction of the supporting tissues around teeth is primarily due to bacterial accumulation from improper cleaning. Most people will have some form of periodontal disease during their lifetime. The majority can be treated by their family dentist. However, when the disease progresses so that pockets are formed and bone loss occurs, then more advanced treatment by a periodontist is recommended.

A periodontist in Ontario must successfully complete a general dental degree and a two- or three-year postgraduate training in periodontics at an accredited facility (or its equivalent) and pass a specialty examination before being licensed. Periodontists are trained in many surgical procedures, such as bone grafting, sinus lifting, and implant placement, as well as the surgical and non-surgical treatment of periodontal diseases and the diagnosis, treatment planning and maintenance of the dental implant and its supporting structures.

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Prosthodontics is concerned with the diagnosis, restoration and maintenance of oral function, comfort, appearance and health of the patient by the restoration of the natural teeth and/or the replacement of missing teeth and contiguous oral and maxillofacial tissues with artificial substitutes.

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