Specialist dentist

A specialist dentist


Specialist dentists prevent, diagnose and treat anomalies and diseases affecting the teeth, mouth, jaws and adjoining tissues specialised in oral surgery or orthodontics.

In dentistry, the general dental practitioner is habilitated to carry out all essential and optional skills performed by specialist dentists and specialist dentists also have the possibility to carry out all the essential and optional skills performed by the general dental practitioner. The difference between the general dental practitioner and the specialist dentists is that the latter, due to the specific training received is more prone to perform the skills related to the specialty in question (orthodontics or oral surgery) on a daily basis.

Here are some of the typical duties of specialists dentists:

  • Diagnose and treat complex dental conditions and oral health issues within their specialized area of dentistry.
  • Provide specialized dental procedures and treatments, such as orthodontic adjustments, periodontal surgeries, or endodontic root canal therapy.
  • Collaborate with general dentists and other dental specialists to develop comprehensive treatment plans for patients with multifaceted dental needs.
  • Utilize advanced dental technology and techniques to deliver the highest quality care in their area of expertise.
  • Conduct thorough evaluations and examinations of patients’ dental health, taking into account their medical history and specific oral health concerns.
  • Perform specialized dental procedures with precision and skill, achieving optimal outcomes for patients.
  • Offer consultation services to general dentists and other dental professionals seeking guidance on complex dental cases.
  • Stay updated on the latest advancements and research within their specialized field of dentistry through continuing education and professional development.
  • Provide education and guidance to patients on preventive measures and oral hygiene practices specific to their dental condition.
  • Collaborate with dental laboratories to design and create custom dental appliances and prosthetics for patients.
  • Diagnose and treat oral and maxillofacial disorders, providing solutions to improve patients’ oral health and overall quality of life.
  • Conduct dental research and contribute to advancements in their specialized field of dentistry.
  • Educate dental students and residents on specialized dental procedures and techniques, serving as mentors and educators in academic settings.
  • Utilize digital imaging and other advanced diagnostic tools to aid in treatment planning and diagnosis.
  • Develop and maintain professional relationships with other healthcare providers to ensure comprehensive patient care for those with complex medical needs.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to specialist dentist:

prosthodontic specialist
oral health care specialist
dental public health specialist
dental health specialist
postgraduate dentist
consulting dentist
hospital dentist
consultant dentist
dental specialist
oral and maxillofacial specialist
oral and maxillofacial pathology specialist
special needs dentist
special care dentist
dentofacial orthopaedic specialist
gerodontic specialist
endodontic specialist
restorative dentist
prosthetic dentist

Working conditions

Specialist dentists work in a clinical setting, such as a dental office, hospital, or dental clinic. The work environment is usually well-equipped with advanced dental instruments and technology to support specialized treatments and procedures. The schedule may vary, depending on the dental practice or healthcare facility, and may include regular business hours as well as some evenings or weekends to accommodate patient needs.

Minimum qualifications

To become a specialist dentist, individuals must first complete a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) or Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from an accredited dental school. After dental school, aspiring specialist dentists must undergo additional training in an accredited postgraduate residency program in their chosen specialty. Common dental specialties include orthodontics, periodontics, endodontics, prosthodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, pediatric dentistry, and others. The residency training typically lasts two to six years, depending on the specialty. After completing the residency, the dentist must pass additional specialty board examinations to become a certified specialist in their field.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Specialist dentist is a Skill level 4 occupation.

Specialist dentist career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to specialist dentist.

general practitioner
dental practitioner
youth programme director
public health policy officer

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of specialist dentist. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Oral surgery: The treating of diseases, injuries and defects that affect the maxillofacial region (face and jaws) and the oral region such as soft and hard tissues of the mouth.
  • Impact of social contexts on health: The social and cultural contexts of individuals` behaviours, and the impact on their health within their social and cultural context.
  • Orthodontics: The prevention or correction of irregularities of the teeth by examining, diagnosis and treating dental malocclusions and oral cavity anomalies, usually through the application of dental braces.
  • Employment law: The law which mediates the relationship between employees and employers. It concerns employees’ rights at work which are binding by the work contract.
  • Pedagogy: The discipline that concerns the theory and practice of education including the various instructional methods for educating individuals or groups.
  • Manage healthcare staff: The managerial tasks and responsibilities required in a health care setting.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of specialist dentist. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Inform policy makers on health-related challenges: Provide useful information related to health care professions to ensure policy decisions are made in the benefit of communities.
  • Organise public oral health programmes: Organise public oral health programmes to educate people on healthy lifestyles and good practices to protect teeth and gums.
  • Build community relations: Establish affectionate and long-lasting relationships with local communities, e.g. by organising special programms for kindergarden, schools and for dissabled and older people, raising awareness and receiving community appreciation in return.
  • Conduct continuing professional development workshops: Organise and conduct various workshops or tutoring programs to develop and improve medical or dental competencies and clinical performances of healthcare professionals.
  • Record healthcare users’ billing information: Record the healthcare user`s information for the billing of provided medical services.
  • Handle payments in dentistry: Handle taxes, paychecks and insurance payments for the provided dental services.
  • Conduct health related research: Conduct research in health related topics and communicate findings orally, through public presentations or by writing reports and other publications.
  • Employ foreign languages for health-related research: Use foreign languages for conducting and collaborating in health-related research.
  • Train employees: Lead and guide employees through a process in which they are taught the necessary skills for the perspective job. Organise activities aimed at introducing the work and systems or improving the performance of individuals and groups in organisational settings.
  • Employ foreign languages in care: Communicate in foreign languages with healthcare users, their carers, or services providers. Use foreign languages to faciliate patient care according to the needs of the patient.
  • Contribute to practice innovation in health care: Contribute to improving care in the daily practice, by adapting to new technological improvements or innovations related to devices, material, procedures or guidelines used in health care.

ISCO group and title

2261 – Dentists

  1. Specialist dentist – ESCO
  2. Featured image: Photo by Quang Tri NGUYEN on Unsplash
Last updated on August 28, 2023