Who is a Dental Specialist?
Dental Specialist : Some one who is expert and specialises in a particular aspect of dentistry. Like medical science, dentistry has also evolved in super specialisation. This has helped patients immensely in getting appropriate treatment with desired outcome.
Today let’s understand how does one become a dental specialist, what are Dental Council of India (DCI) approved degrees and their focus areas.
Before Dental Specialist, Let’s understand Generalist
Dental Generalist or Dental Surgeons as they are often referred to are dentist with a 5 year BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery) degree. BDS is the fundamental dental degree to perform any dental procedure in India. It’s rigourous 5 years degree program followed by 6 months of rotational internship, which exposes them to clinical & hands on aspect of dentistry.
After the degree it is mandatory to register with a state dental registration body to get a license before any dentist can treat a patient in India.
Dental Surgeons or generalist play a crucial role in promoting oral health and providing dental care to the population. They diagnose and treat various dental conditions, perform dental procedures such as fillings, extractions, and root canals, and educate patients about oral hygiene practices.
Specializations: After completing the BDS program, graduates have the option to pursue various postgraduate specializations in dentistry.
What are Dental Specializations?
Here is a comprehensive list of dental super specialist degree in India and their focus area.
|Popular Name||DCI Approved Degree Name||Treatment Focus||Duration|
|Orthodontist or Braces Specialist||Master of Dental Surgery (MDS) in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopaedics||Alignment of teeth and jaws using braces, aligners, and orthodontic appliances, Jaw misalignment, Bite Alignment, retainers||3 years|
|Prosthodontist or Cap, Denture, Specialist||Master of Dental Surgery (MDS) in Prosthodontics and Crown & Bridge||Restoration and replacement of missing teeth and surrounding oral structures using crowns, bridges, dentures, veneers and implants, inlay, onlay||3 years|
|Periodontist or Gum Specialist||Master of Dental Surgery (MDS) in Periodontology||Prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gum diseases; gum surgeries, Flap Surgeries, gum grafting and dental implants||3 years|
|Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon|
or Dental Surgey Specialist
|Master of Dental Surgery (MDS) in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery||Surgical treatment of oral and facial conditions, complex extractions, jaw surgeries, facial trauma management, and oral disease treatment, Implants||3 years|
|Endodontist or Root Canal Specialist||Master of Dental Surgery (MDS) in Conservative Dentistry and Endodontics||Restoration and conservation of natural teeth, root canal treatments, dental fillings, composite fillings, GIC and Esthetic restorations||3 years|
|Pediatric Dentist or Kids Dentist||Master of Dental Surgery (MDS) in Pediatric Dentistry||Dental care for children, preventive, restorative, and interceptive orthodontic treatments for young patients||3 years|
|Oral Medicine Specialist or Imaging Specialist||Master of Dental Surgery (MDS) in Oral Medicine and Radiology||Diagnosis and management of oral diseases, oral cancer screening, and radiographic image interpretation||3 years|
There are some other MDS super specialization like community, public dentistry, research and epdemiology which are beyond the sope of this article.
These postgraduate specializations allow dentists to acquire advanced knowledge and expertise in their chosen areas of dentistry, enabling them to offer specialized treatments and services to their patients.
We hear other Specializations?
Some dentists may use non-standard terminologies to describe their practices or areas of expertise. These terms are not officially recognized or regulated by dental governing bodies like the Dental Council of India (DCI). Let’s discuss a few common non-standard terminologies:
- Cosmetic Dentist: The term “cosmetic dentist” is often used to refer to a dentist who focuses on improving the appearance of a patient’s smile. While there are dental procedures that can enhance the esthetics of the teeth, such as teeth whitening, veneers, and cosmetic bonding, it’s important to note that all dentists receive training in esthetics and strive to provide esthetically pleasing results in their treatments. The term “cosmetic dentist” does not indicate any additional recognized qualification or specialization beyond general dentistry.
- Implantologist: The term “implantologist” is sometimes used to describe a dentist who specializes in dental implants. While dental implants are a specialized field within dentistry, the term “implantologist” is not an official title recognized by dental regulatory bodies. Dentists who offer dental implant treatments often have additional training as part of their Masters degree. 03 specialization in India are taught Implants (check the table above)
- Esthetic Dentistry: “Esthetic dentistry” is a term used to describe dental procedures that focus on improving the appearance of the teeth and smile. As with the term “cosmetic dentist,” all dentists are trained in aesthetics to some extent, and the distinction between “aesthetic dentistry” and general dentistry is not well-defined in official dental terminology.
Concluding – Dental Specialist
It’s essential for patients to be aware of standard degrees and non-standard terminologies. Patients should ask questions about a dentist’s qualifications and experience before undergoing any dental treatment.
When seeking specialized dental treatments, patients should look for dentists who have completed accredited postgraduate programs or certifications in the relevant fields.
For example, a dentist specializing in dental implants should have formal training in Implants as part of their curriculum (MDS Degree), not some short term course from unaccredited source.
Overall, while some non-standard terminologies are used by dentists for marketing or branding purposes, patients should focus on finding a qualified and experienced dentist who adheres to recognized dental standards and ethics.
Regular dentists with proper qualifications and training are well-equipped to provide a wide range of dental treatments, including those that improve both function and aesthetics.
We encourage readers take an informed decision after meeting a dentist. Always discuss your expectations, challenges, any ailment, any medication that you are taking for them to assess your condition and offer the right solution.