Fields of Dentistry
 Fields of Dentistry


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Definition of Dentistry

Dentistry is defined as the evaluation, diagnosis, prevention and/or treatment (nonsurgical, surgical or related procedures) of diseases, disorders and/or conditions of the oral cavity, maxillofacial area and/or the adjacent and associated structures and their impact on the human body; provided by a dentist, within the scope of his/her education, training and experience, in accordance with the ethics of the profession and applicable law. (As adopted by the 1997 ADA House of Delegates)

As a dentist, you can choose a variety of career paths including:   


Private Practice (having your own office)


Academics (teaching at a dental institution)


Hospital Care


  Public Health

The following are recognized dental specialties Approved by the Council on Dental Education and Licensure, American Dental Association:

Dental Public Health: Dental public health is the science and art of preventing and controlling dental diseases and promoting dental health through organized community efforts. It is that form of dental practice which serves the community as a patient rather than the individual. It is concerned with the dental health education of the public, with applied dental research, and with the administration of group dental care programs as well as the prevention and control of dental diseases on a community basis. (Adopted May 1976)

Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology: Oral pathology is the specialty of dentistry and discipline of pathology that deals with the nature, identification, and management of diseases affecting the oral and maxillofacial regions. It is a science that investigates the causes, processes, and effects of these diseases. The practice of oral pathology includes research and diagnosis of diseases using clinical, radiographic, microscopic, biochemical, or other examinations. (Adopted May 1991)

Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology: Oral and maxillofacial radiology is the specialty of dentistry and discipline of radiology concerned with the production and interpretation of images and data produced by all modalities of radiant energy that are used for the diagnosis and management of diseases, disorders and conditions of the oral and maxillofacial region. (Adopted April 2001)

For More Details on other Dental Specialties, See Below:


Dentist's earnings vary according to location, type of practice, and the individual's number of years in practice. Dentist's entering private practice often earn little more than the minimum needed to cover expenses during the first year or two, but their earnings rise rapidly as their practices develop. On the average, salaried dentists earn somewhat less than self-employed dentists. Dentists who specialize, such as oral surgeons and periodontists, and those who work in large urban areas generally have the highest earnings. Dentists who were employed by hospitals in early 2001 averaged $101,200 per year, with most earning between $61,700 and $126,500.

Nationally, the estimated median net income (2000) of dentists by specialty was:



General Practitioner


Orthodontics and Dentofacial orthopedics


Pediatric Dentistry






Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery




*click on each specialty for more information about it


"Endo" is the Greek word for "inside" and "odont" is Greek for "tooth." Endodontic treatment is treatment of the inside of the tooth. Endodontics is that branch of dentistry which is concerned with the morphology, physiology and pathology of the human dental pulp and periradicular tissues. Its study and practice encompass the basic and clinical sciences including the biology of the normal pulp, the etiology, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases and injuries of the pulp and associated periradicular conditions.  Endodontics is the study of "saving teeth"—in other words, of treating and preventing disorders of the dental pulp, or soft tissues. One of the endodontists' most frequently occurring tasks is treatment of the root canal—the removal of damaged pulp from within the root canal of a tooth. Such treatment is required when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. Inflammation and infection can occur as a result of tooth decay, tooth cracks, or repeated dental work on the same tooth. In some cases, such as calcified canal, blocked apices, or aberrant root morphology, root canal treatment may be impossible. In such cases, endodontic surgery is required instead. Surgery may also be required to remedy earlier treatments that failed to heal. In some cases, surgery can be used as a diagnostic tool; opening the tooth can allow the endodontist to find the cause of unexplained discomfort in a patient.  Specialization in this field requires two to three years of study in addition to dental school, plus frequent continuing education courses to keep the endodontist up-to-date with the latest research and development in their field.


Periodontics is the study of periodontal disease (also known as gum disease), its effects and treatment. The word comes from the Latin word peri meaning around and the Greek word odous meaning tooth. Literally taken, it means study of that which is "around the tooth". Periodontology is one of the eight dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association. It is an entire branch of dentistry dedicated to studying the soft tissues and bone supporting the teeth, researching new techniques for treating periodontal diseases, and replacing teeth lost to periodontal disease with dental implants.
Periodontists are dental specialists who are experts in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases affecting the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. After periodontists complete dental school, they continue their education for 3 more years to obtain a postdoctoral certificate in periodontics and limit their practices to this specialty.

 Written By Yung Kim



What is a Pediatric Dentist?

 Pediatric Dentists are dedicated to the oral health of children from infancy through the teen years. They have the experience and qualifications to care for a child’s teeth, gums, and mouth throughout the various stages of childhood. Children begin to get their baby teeth during the first 6 months of life. By age 6 or 7 years, they start to lose their first set of teeth, which eventually are replaced by secondary, permanent teeth. Without proper dental care, children face possible oral decay and disease that can cause a lifetime of pain and complications. Today, early childhood dental caries—an infectious disease—is 5 times more common in children than asthma and 7 times more common than hay fever.

What kind of training do pediatric dentists have? Pediatric dentists have completed at least • Four years of dental school • Two additional years of residency training in dentistry for infants, children, teens, and children with special need

 What types of treatments do pediatric dentists provide? Pediatric dentists provide comprehensive oral health care that includes the following: • Infant oral health exams, which include risk assessment for caries in mother and child • Preventive dental care including cleaning and fluoride treatments, as well as nutrition and diet recommendations • Habit counseling (for example, pacifier use and thumb sucking) • Early assessment and treatment for straightening teeth and correcting an improper bite (orthodontics) • Repair of tooth cavities or defects • Diagnosis of oral conditions associated with diseases such as diabetes, congenital heart defect, asthma, hay fever, and attention- deficit/hyperactivity disorder • Management of gum diseases and conditions including ulcers, short frenulae, mucoceles, and pediatric periodontal disease • Care for dental injuries (for example, fractured, displaced, or knocked-out teeth)

 Where can I find a pediatric dentist? Pediatric dentists practice in a variety of locations including private practices, dental schools, and medical centers. Your pediatrician can help you find a pediatric dentist near your home. Pediatric dentists—the best care for children Children are not just small adults. They are not always able to be patient and cooperative during a dental exam. Pediatric dentists know how to examine and treat children in ways that make them comfortable. In addition, pediatric dentists use specially designed equipment in offices that are arranged and decorated with children in mind. A pediatric dentist offers a wide range of treatment options, as well as expertise and training to care for your child’s teeth, gums, and mouth. When your pediatrician suggests that your child receive a dental exam, you can be assured that a pediatric dentist will provide the best possible care. The information contained in this publication should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.



"Prosthodontics", a special word for a special branch of dentistry. Skilled hands and sure eyes to help make teeth, mouths, faces right again ... and make you feel good about yourself again. Talented dentists dedicated to restoring oral and facial health and beauty. A special profession filling a special health need in our modern times.

Do you ever wonder what a Prosthodontist is, or what kind of dentistry he or she practices? If so, you're not alone. Even though millions of people have bridges or dentures, or have their teeth capped, they never think it's all called "prosthodontics". And that's not surprising because it's the kind of service we all expect from dentistry. The difference is however that some dentists specialize in this treatment, and that's what this is all about. We hope that our answers to these most commonly asked questions will help you understand better what prosthodontics can do for you.

What is prosthodontics?
It's a special branch of dentistry that concentrates all its skills and science on helping make your mouth, teeth, and face work right, feel right, look right, and stay right.

How does prosthodontics do this?
By restoring your natural teeth and replacing missing teeth or tissue (in and around the mouth and face) with artificial, lifelike substitutes.

How is this done?
Three basic ways:


By non-removable replacements such as crowns or bridges


By removable replacements such as dentures.


By restoring mouth, facial, or ear structures that were made defective by disease, injury, surgery, or by birth defects such as cleft palates.

How does a dentist become a Prosthodontist?
After completing dental school, a dentist such as Dr. Hong must take at least two to three more years of advanced study and clinical training in a prosthodontic program fully approved by the American Dental Association. Only after successful completion of such programs can dentists be recognized as a "Prosthodontist".

Do some Prosthodontists receive special certification?
Yes. The American Board of Prosthodontics certifies qualified Prosthodontists who meet its standards and pass its examinations. These Prosthodontists are then certified as "Diplomats" of the American Board of Prosthodontics. Dr. Sung Hong is a Diplomat of the American Board of Prosthodontics.

What's so different about a Prosthodontist compared to a "regular" dentist?
All dentists have the same basic goal: to help you take care of your teeth, mouth, and other aspects of your oral health. So most general dentists do a lot of prosthodontic service: they cap teeth, make bridges, and do some reconstructive work. There is a difference in emphasis, however. Because the Prosthodontist concentrates on one area of dentistry, he or she can usually handle more complex problems more easily or more efficiently than the general dentist. It's the same with other specialty areas of dentistry. Oral surgeons, orthodontists, endodontists, periodontists, and Prosthodontists ... all make up the skilled specialty complex of dentistry.

Who might send you to a Prosthodontist?


Your family dentist - for assistance in handling special or complex restorations or reconstructions.


Your family physician - for help in managing birth defect problems such as cleft palates.


Medical and dental specialists - for prosthodontic services required in the management of difficult oral and facial problems.

What can a Prosthodontist do for you?
Your Prosthodontist has one aim: to help you return as close to normal, healthy function and appearance as possible. Your Prosthodontist will work with you, and seek your cooperation in achieving that aim.

What are the most common prosthodontic procedures?


Single Crowns - creating non-removable jackets or caps of metal, porcelain or plastic, covering teeth to protect them and restore normal function and appearance.


Fixed bridges - creating non-removable restorations to replace missing teeth.


Partial dentures - creating removable replacements for partial tooth loss.


Complete dentures - creating full, removable replacements for total tooth loss.


Overdenture service - creating removable replacements utilizing the roots of some teeth or a dental implant for support.


Implant-supported Fixed Crown and Bridge or Removable Dentures - creating non-removable restorations and/or removable dentures supported by permanent dental implants.


Reconstruction and Maxillofacial Services - rebuilding the teeth, jaw, palate, or other facial structures, to correct complex problems including TMJ dysfunction, and to evaluate the need for implant dentistry. This may require the services of several doctors.

Written By Edward Goziker

Oral Surgery

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is one of the specialties to consider after completing dental schhol. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery involves various areas of treatment. Along with routine dentoalveolar surgery,
which includes complex dental extractions and the placement of dental implants, oral surgeons are responsible for diagnosing and treating oral disease, in particular benign and malignant tumors of the jaws,
head and neck. They also perform surgeries to aid in the treatment of sleep disorders, and surgical treatment of the TMJ (the joint that is formed between the mandible and the base of the skull).

To become an oral surgeon, one must complete four to seven years of hospital-based surgical residency training (which may or may not involve getting an M.D. degree). This training includes training in internal medicine, general surgery, anesthesiology, ears nose and throat, emergency medicine and plastic surgery. Residency traing comes
AFTER 4 years of dental school.
After completing residency training, Oral and MAxillofacial surgeons may pursue a carrer in private pratice, the hospital setting, teaching institutions, the military, or any combination. Salary ranges accordingly.

General Dentistry

Upon completeing four years of dental school and receiving a DDS or DMD degree, one is considered a general dentist. There is no practical difference between the DDS and the DMD degree. The difference is very subtle and related to minor differences in the training received in dental school.

General dentistry is a broad and gratifying proffession. General dentists are not directly limited to what they can do in practice. This includes, Prosthodontics (crowns, AKA "Caps", and dentures, AKA "Plates"), periodontics (gum surgery and management), Endodontics (Root Canal Therapy), Pedodontics (treating children), geriatrics (treating the elderly population), and orthodontics (Braces).

General dentists plan and sequence all of the treatment for all of their patients. They can then choose to perform the various stages of treatment or they can choose to refer to specialists (send their patient to a specialist for certain types of treatment). They are the center of the dental care team (like what a quarter back is to football).

General dentists can work in a private practice on their own, in a practice with other dentists, or in teaching institutions. Salary varies accordingly, but new york-metro area dentists start out on average at abou 85-100K depending on experience and location.

Written By Gerardo Romeo


So what does it take to be an orthodontist? An orthodontist is a specialist in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. All orthodontists are dentists, but only about six percent of dentists are orthodontists. Admission to orthodontic programs is extremely competitive and selective.

An orthodontist must complete college requirements before starting a three-to five-year graduate program at a dental school accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA). After dental school, at least two or three academic years of advanced specialty education in an ADA-accredited orthodontic program is required to be an orthodontists. The program includes advanced education in biomedical, behavioral and basic sciences. The orthodontic student learns the complex skills required to manage tooth movement (orthodontics) and guide facial development (dentofacial orthopedics).

Only dentists who have successfully completed these advanced specialty education programs may call themselves orthodontists.

Written By Daniel Gehani


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This site was last updated 12/12/04