There are six dental specialities, all of which require a minimum of three years full time post-graduate study, leading to a higher qualification. These are: -
Orthodontists straighten crooked teeth or teeth that do not fit together properly and attend to malformations of the jaw and/or joint disorders. An increasing number of children and adults chew better, look better and their teeth last longer as a result of orthodontic treatment.
A prosthodontist specialises in restorative dentistry. This involves endodontics, the restoration of teeth with inlays, crowns, bridges and denture construction. A prosthodontist also undertakes the restoration of implants, the construction of missing facial parts such as ears, noses and eyes and the treatment of some joint disorders.
Maxillo Facial and Oral Surgery
Maxillo Facial and Oral Surgeons are concerned with the surgical removal of impacted and unerupted teeth. They correct deformities of the jaw, repair cleft palates and treat broken jaws and joint disorders. They form part of the dental team concerned with implant dentistry.
A periodontist diagnoses and treats gum disease. This involves treatment of the gums, root surfaces and surrounding bone. A periodontist also places implants in the jaws and is responsible for maintaining the teeth, gums and implants in good health.
The oral pathologist is involved in the diagnosis of disease, its causes, processes and effects on the mouth and surrounding structures. The diagnosis may require the use of several different investigation procedures. The oral pathologist may recommend and assist with treatment of the patient.
A community dentist is a dental specialist employed by the state who is concerned with public dental health. He/she may work only as an epidemiologist that is determining the causes of oral diseases in the population or may in certain circumstances render treatment to state patients.
Information supplied by the SA Dental Association.