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Health Policy

Which Dentist Should You See?

Are you visiting the right kind of dentist? For general dental issues such as cavities, any licensed dental practitioner is equipped. But for cosmetic procedures and complex procedures such as aligning crooked teeth, you need a specialized dentist.

General dentist

A general dentist is the primary dental health care provider. They diagnose, treat, and provide oral health management advice. They are the most common type of dentists Stone Harbor NJ. They offer a wide array of services including:

  • Preventative services such as teeth cleaning.
  • Restorative services such as removing tooth decay.
  • Cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening.

You should visit a general dentist for the common types of dental issues and once every six months for preventative dental care.


Endodontists focus on the pulp. It is the inner part of the tooth that found below the enamel, the outer layer, and protected by the dentin, the inner layer. The pulp is sensitive living tissue. Problems in the pulp can result from decay, injury, and trauma. The most common procedure done by endodontists is root canal to remove severe tooth decay.


Prosthodontists focus on replacing teeth. They work in dental labs to create oral appliances such as dentures, crowns, bridges, veneers, and tooth implants. Tooth replacements, also called prostheses, replace decayed, missing, and damaged teeth. Prosthodontists replace teeth both for functionality and cosmetic reasons.


Periodontists provide the care for gums. They diagnose and treat various gum problems such as periodontal diseases. They also provide preventative care for gum disease. Ideally, they handle dental issues that require a lot of work on the gums.


Orthodontists are generally referred to as the dentists who install braces. Their main concerns are correcting misalignment of teeth and jaw bones. The misalignment of teeth is not just a cosmetic issue: It also causes bite problems. The issue is fixed through braces and other accessories such as face masks, mouthguards, and retainers.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

An oral surgeon focuses on the soft and hard tissues of the mouth, jaw, and face. They perform all types of oral surgery. However, you do not need them for all types of surgery. They are necessary when the surgery requires a deep level of sedation. Operations they perform include tooth extraction, especially extraction of wisdom teeth, jaw correction surgery, and cleft lip surgery.

Pediatric dentist

Pediatric dentists, also called pedodontists, specialize in dental care for children. Their similarities to general dentists are that they can diagnose and treat dental problems, and even clean teeth. However, a pediatric dentist has an additional two years of training, where they learn more about the development of teeth. For that reason, they are the practitioner you want to consult for dental problems in children.

Now you know what each type of dentist specializes in. But, if you are still not sure, visit your general dentist, and they will refer you to a specialist for any dentistry they are not qualified to provide. However, before you visit any dentist check that they are licensed and they are a member of the New Jersey State Board of Dentistry.