A dentist is a dentist is a dentist, right? Well, not quite. For routine exams, cleanings, and the occasional filling, most people see a general dentist. But sometimes our smiles need more than standard care. In this case, there are several types of dental specialists, each with a particular role to fill for your oral care. Dental specialists are dentists who receive additional training in a specific dental specialty, above and beyond their general dentistry degree. Due to heredity, issues with your overall health, an accident, or some other reason, you may need to visit a dental specialist. Most dental offices can be classified as a mixture of the following specific types of dentists due to the procedures and services they are qualified to do. Tri-State Family Dentistry’s Full Services are listed at the end of this post.

DDS and DMD General Dentistry

Most of your dental visits will take place with a dentist who has a DDS or a DMD degree. The DDS has earned their Doctor of Dental Surgery degree and one with a DMD earned their Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry. The difference in title is due to the university they attended and how that university recognizes the profession. Both complete the same 4 years of undergraduate studies followed by four years of dental school to earn those credentials. Both of those dentist are considered general dentist and are your primary provider. Hopefully you will avoid the need for the next type of dentists – the dental specialists….


An orthodontist is a dental specialist who corrects the position of your teeth and jaws. You might see this type of dental specialist if you have an overbite, underbite or crossbite caused by a misaligned jaw. A patient is referred to an orthodontist when their general dentist notices a misalignment of their jaw. An orthodontist will treat them with solutions like braces, invisalign, or retainers. Children can be referred to an orthodontist as early as the age of seven years old.

Pediatric Dentist

Most general dentists also treat children, but parents often choose a pediatric dental specialist for their children’s routine dental care because of their kid-friendly practices and age-specific knowledge. Pediatric dental specialists provide routine care like exams, cleanings, and cavity fillings, but they are also great resources for kid-specific issues like thumb sucking. And many work with patients who have special needs.

Oral Surgeon

Oral surgeons specializes in injuries and surgical treatment. They are the ones who will remove your wisdom teeth, handle dental implants, and do biopsies. They have addition training in anesthesia for the patient’s comfort when surgery is required. In fact, oral surgeons are the only health care professionals, other than anesthesiologists, who administer all levels of sedation. Specialized procedures performed by oral surgeons include tooth extractions and corrective jaw surgery


This dental specialist focuses on caring of your gums and the supporting tissue around your teeth. They are also trained to place dental implants. Think of them as the gum disease experts of dentistry. Periodontists recognize and treat early stages of gum disease.


The word endodontic comes for the Greek word endo meaning inside and odont meaning tooth. A endodonist is a dental specialist that cares for a patient with tooth pain. They will perform a root canal to save your natural tooth. In many cases, a diseased tooth can be saved with endodontic treatment. For this reason, endodontists proudly refer to themselves as specialists in saving teeth.


Prosthodontists restore and replace lost or damaged teeth. This dental specialty has a unique understanding of everything that goes into a beautiful, functional, and natural-looking smile. Prosthodontists specialize in dental procedures such as porcelain veneers, crowns, dental implants, bridge repair, dentures, and reconstructive dentistry.

Tri-State Family Dentistry Services

  • General Dentistry
  • Preventive Services – Services that will allow us to help you maintain a healthy mouth and a beautiful smile for all of your life!
  • Periodontal Services – Preventing and treating the effects of gum disease which can cause the loss of teeth, bone structures, and tissue structures.
  • Restorative Services – If damage has occurred, we use traditional methods as well as the latest technology to fully restore your teeth to their best possible form and function.
  • Facial Cosmetic Services – We offer a variety of treatments to help you attain that smile you have always wanted!
  • Soft Tissue Laser Treatment – Performing soft tissue procedures with a diode laser will cause less pain, less bleeding, and faster healing times!

Contact Us (859-689-1105) For More Information or to Make an Appointment!


About Tri-State Family Dentistry

Tri-State Family Dentistry is dedicated to providing the highest quality dental care possible. Being privately owned since 2009, we don’t experience the corporate pressure that other dental practices have to hit certain revenue numbers. You will never be ‘sold’ dentistry at Tri-State Family Dentistry. After we explain your treatment options, you can make your own decisions.