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Descriptions of Dental Specialties

About 10% of dentists registered with CDSBC are certified specialists. This means they have completed a dental specialty training program as well as the National Dental Specialty Examination (NDSE) or its equivalent. These individuals have an advanced level of training and education in their area of specialized interest. 

Most certified specialists can practise the full scope of a general dentist in addition to their area of specialty. A "Restricted to Specialty" registrant's practice is restricted to their area of specialty.

This information is provided to assist the public and is not meant to define the technical scopes of practice.

​Specialist

​Description

​You might see or be referred if...

Dental Public Health Specialist

Diagnose, prevent and control dental diseases and promote oral health in the community through organized efforts and programs.

You live in a community that might require a certified specialist to travel to your town to provide dental services and initiate a dental care program with educational resources about oral health care.

Endodontist

Diagnose, treat and prevent diseases and injuries of the dental pulp (inside of the tooth) and the tissues surrounding the tooth root.

You have an injured or diseased tooth that might require root canal treatment, often of an increased level of complexity.

Oral Medicine Specialist

Diagnose and treat diseases of the mouth and jaw, including oral mucosal diseases, neuromuscular conditions such as TMJ (temporomandibular joint) pain and orofacial pain disorders (conditions). Provide dental management for people with complex medical conditions.

You have a disease or disorder of the mouth (oral mucosa); neuromuscular conditions, such as TMJ pain or a TMJ disorder (TMD); or orofacial pain disorders (conditions); or if you have a complex medical condition and require special dental care.

Oral Pathologist

Diagnose and treat diseases affecting the oral mucosa. Perform laboratory procedures on oral and maxillofacial biopsy tissues to establish a diagnosis.

Oral pathologists perform laboratory procedures on oral and maxillofacial biopsy tissues to establish a diagnosis.

Oral Medicine and Pathology Specialist

All the activities described for Oral Medicine Specialists and Oral Pathologists.

You have any of the conditions described for Oral Medicine specialists and Oral Pathologists.

Oral and Maxillofacial Radiologist

Make and interpret diagnostic images (X-rays) of the head and neck area for the diagnosis and management of diseases and disorders.

You are planning surgery for a tooth extraction that might require X-rays, or you have a condition that requires a more sophisticated evaluation.

Orthodontist

Diagnose, prevent and correct dental/facial irregularities to correctly align teeth and jaws. This is accomplished with various appliances, including braces.

You have an over-or-under bite and/or misaligned teeth that might require braces.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

Diagnose, manage and treat diseases, injuries, and defects of the face, jaws, mouth and teeth.

You have wisdom teeth that might require surgery to remove, you have unusual swelling, or you have fractured your jaw or several teeth.

Pedodontist (Pediatric Specialist)

Provide dental care and consultation for infants and children through adolescence, including those with medical concerns or special needs.

You have a child who requires comprehensive dental care that might require specific consultation and treatment.

Periodontist

Diagnose, prevent and treat diseases and conditions affecting the supporting tissues (bone and gums) of the teeth. Place dental implants (and manage associated complications), and perform procedures to improve the function and aesthetics of the mouth’s soft tissue.

You have gum disease, such as gingivitis, that might require treatment or periodontal plastic surgery to cover exposed tooth roots, correct gum and jawbone indentation or reshape and repair gum tissue.

Prosthodontist

Diagnose, restore and maintain aesthetics, function and health of teeth and jaws. Concerned with  replacement of natural structure, including the repair of damaged teeth, and replacement of missing teeth (and adjoining tissues) with substitutes such as crowns, bridges and dentures.

You have lost teeth and require reconstructive dental treatment.


Many general dentists provide some of the services that fall within a specialty area. Examples include root canal treatment, orthodontics and pediatric dentistry. However,
even if a general dentist performs a given treatment regularly, they may refer a patient to a certified specialist based on the dentist's assessment of a patient's individual oral
healthcare needs.

The number of certified specialists practising in each specialty is published in
CDSBC's Annual Report
.

More information on dental specialties: