What types of dentists are there and which one do you need? With many dental specialties out there – orthodontics, periodontics, endodontics, etc. –  it can be hard to know which is right for you.

In this blog, you’ll learn about the different types of dentists, what services they provide, and what you should look for in a dental office.

General dentist vs. specialist

General Dentist: Also known as a family dentist, this is your go-to dentist for most routine dental procedures, including teeth cleanings, check-ups, fillings, crowns, root canals, sealants, and screenings for oral disease.

He/she will have received a 4-year doctorate in dentistry and will be able to refer you to a specialist with further training if needed.

With ongoing education, many general dentists perform a wide range of services, all under one roof.

Salt Lake City dentist and patient discussing options

Can a general dentist perform root canals?

Yes, a general dentist can perform a root canal but may also refer patients to an endodontist for the procedure.

What is an endodontist?

Endodontist: This specialized dentist works on the inner portion of the tooth, removing infected tissue, and refilling the nerve canal. Endodontists specialize in root canals and tooth pain.

Should you go to a dentist or orthodontist for braces?

For teeth straightening, including metal braces and clear aligners, a general dentist will refer you to an orthodontist.

Dentists can also offer orthodontics. However, orthodontists have specific training on this matter.

What is an orthodontist?

Orthodontist: You may be referred to an orthodontist if you have misaligned teeth or a bite that is off. Orthodontists design and apply braces, retainers, and other corrective appliances to realign teeth and correct your bite.

What kind of dentist does dental implants?

General dentists can perform implant dentistry, and our dentists in Salt Lake City, UT offer this procedure along with other restorative dental care.

In addition to a general dentist, there are other types of dentists trained in dental implants:

Prosthodontist: Your general dentist may refer you to a prosthodontist if you need tooth replacement implants, dentures, crowns, or bridges. Prosthodontists are trained to design, construct, and fit replacement teeth.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon: Patients are referred to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon if they need wisdom teeth removed, treatment of facial injuries or jaw disorders, reconstructive surgery, or dental implants.

Periodontist: A periodontist may be recommended for implants placed in areas with deficient bone or gum tissue, or in areas where esthetics can be challenging.

What kind of dentist removes wisdom teeth?

In addition to dental implants and jaw surgery, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon can also remove wisdom teeth. General dentists can also remove wisdom teeth.

What are some other types of dentists?

Periodontist: Your general dentist may refer you to a periodontist if you have gingivitis or periodontitis. Periodontists treat diseases of the gum and bone.

Pediatric Dentist: Parents and guardians may be referred to a pediatric dentist if they have infants, children, or adolescents who need dental work. Pediatric dentists are trained to work specifically with children.

Cosmetic Dentist: A cosmetic dentist improves the appearance of your teeth, to help give you a confident, healthy, and beautiful smile.

Should you see a general dentist or specialist?

Seeing your general dentist will typically cost less than seeing a specialist, and many dental insurance plans require a referral from your general dentist before they agree to cover the costs of a specialist.

For this reason, it is worth having your general dentist oversee and coordinate your dental care.

What services and amenities should a general dentist provide?

It’s important to find a general dentist that provides the services and amenities that you’re looking for and need.

Here at Legacy Dental, we meet both your needs and desires with the latest dental technology, a state-of-the-art facility, and friendly staff.

Our dental services range from comprehensive dentistry to TMJ disorder and headache prevention and treatment, saving you from having to make an extra trip elsewhere.

In addition to a wide range of services, we provide industry-leading amenities, including:

  • You can watch your favorite movie or show on our screens, placed on the ceiling for easy viewing.
  • You can have nitrous oxide or other sedation if you’re worried or anxious about your care.
  • You’ll be able to view our findings with our intraoral camera.
  • And more!

We’re your general, restorative, and cosmetic dentist in salt lake city, ut

Our expert team of dentists can take care of all your dental needs, including:

View all our dental services here!

We’ll make your next dentist visit convenient!

Our dental office located in Salt Lake City, UT serves surrounding communities, including Millcreek, Holladay, Sugarhouse, Murray, Midvale, Sandy, Taylorsville, Riverton, and Herriman.

Contact us today to schedule your appointment:


Editor’s note: This post was originally published in July 2011 and has been completely revamped for comprehensiveness and timeliness.