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8 Types of Dentists and Dental Specialists in Canada

When most people think of dentists, they think of their general dentist, who they visit for routine exams and the occasional filling. However, there are many different types of dentists, many of which specialize in certain areas of dentistry. These dentists and dental specialists include:

General Dentist

When you visit a dentist for a routine exam or common procedures (like tooth extraction or a filling), you will likely see a general dentist. Roughly 86% of all dentists in Canada are general dentists.

Unlike a specialist who focuses on a particular area of dentistry, general dentists like ours at Blue Water Dental provide a wide range of services. These services include:

Restorative Services

Just as the name suggests, restorative services are designed to restore your oral health. Fillings are one of the most common and familiar restorative services. Tooth decay is removed, and a filling is placed to help keep teeth healthy. Fillings are just one of many dental restoration services available through an office like ours. Fixing a broken or knocked-out tooth from an emergency would also fall into this category of treatment. Other services include:

More advanced treatments can include orthodontics, root canals and dental implants.

Preventative Services

A general dentist also performs preventative services designed to help patients maintain good oral health. Preventative services can include:

A general dentist may also be able to fit patients with custom mouth guards.

Identifying Health Concerns

Oral health is often an indication of your overall health. However, dental issues can also impact other areas of your body or aspects of your health. For example, untreated oral infections may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease or make it more challenging to keep diabetes under control. A general dentist is specially trained to recognize these issues and provide treatment or offer a referral when necessary.

In addition, your general dentist can help you:

They can also provide information on public health.

Cosmetic Procedures

General dentists can also perform some cosmetic procedures to help you get the smile you’re dreaming of. These cosmetic procedures can include:

Smiling read head woman


Teeth braces

An orthodontist treats misaligned or crooked teeth. Although they are most commonly associated with braces, orthodontists can provide other treatments that make it easier for patients to floss and brush their teeth.

Orthodontists can help treat:


Root canal file in a tooth

An endodontist is a dentist who specializes in endodontic therapy, which focuses on the soft tissue inside of the teeth (also known as the pulp). The word “endodontic” is derived from the Greek words “endo,” which means “inside,” and “odont,” which means “tooth.”

While all dentists are trained in endodontic therapy, endodontists specialize in this area of dentistry. Some teeth are especially difficult to treat, and in this case, patients may be referred to an endodontist.

Endodontists also undergo at least two years of advanced education in endodontic therapy. As a result, the gain specialized knowledge of root canal techniques, which allows them to diagnose and treat more complex cases.

Oral Surgeon

An oral and maxillofacial surgeon is the only type of dentist to undergo surgical training in an accredited residency program. They spend four years training with medical residents who specialize in general surgery, internal medicine and anesthesiology. In addition, these dental specialists also spend time working in emergency medicine, plastic surgery and ear, nose and throat treatment.

Jaw surgery facial change

An oral and maxillofacial surgeon’s training is primarily focused on the tissues of the mouth, face and jaw. These specialists are qualified to diagnose and treat a variety of issues, including:

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons also have training in general anesthesia, local anesthesia, IV sedation and nitrous oxide.

Pediatric Dentist

A pedodontist, also known as a pediatric dentist, is a dentist who specializes in treating infants, children and teens. While they typically perform all the procedures and services that general dentists offer, pediatric dentists have specialized training that helps them deal with behavioural issues that may arise when treating young patients.

Pedodontists can treat a variety of patients, from infants to adolescents. Typically, they stop treating patients once they reach 18 years of age. A pediatric dentist’s office is designed with young patients in mind. Waiting rooms typically have multiple play areas. Games, books and toys help keep kids occupied while waiting for their appointments.

Oral Pathologist

Tissue slide

Oral pathologists diagnose diseases of the mouth or jaws, head, neck and face. They use bone or tissue biopsies, X-rays and exam information to help with diagnoses. Because oral health is often linked to overall health, oral pathologists must have a thorough understanding of oral health and disease in general. Oral pathologists focus a great deal of their time on diagnosing neck and head cancers.


Implant supported denture

Prosthodontists focus on restoring damaged or missing teeth and other oral structures. They are typically called in for complicated tooth restorations. These dental specialists can construct and install:


Periodontists are dentists who specialize in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of periodontal disease. They can also place dental implants and perform cosmetic periodontal procedures.

These dental specialists are trained extensively in the treatment of oral inflammation, and they have three additional years of training. They use the latest and most advanced techniques to diagnose and treat gum disease.

Patients with advanced gum disease or complex medical histories may be referred to a periodontist. They offer a wide range of treatments, which can include:

When examining the mouth, periodontists will measure the size and depth of periodontal pockets to assess the health of the gums.

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