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Dental Clinical Science

The field of dentistry involves more than just cleaning teeth, filling cavities and putting in crowns. Dentists can enhance their practice by pursuing a dental clinical science specialty, such as orthodontics or oral surgery. Read on to learn more.

Inside Dental Clinical Science

Dental clinical science covers the various advanced specialties in the field of dentistry. The American Dental Association (ADA) recognizes several dental specialties (www.ada.org). Dental public health, for example, focuses on working with communities to prevent dental diseases and advance good dental health. Specialists in oral and maxillofacial surgery diagnose and treat oral defects and damage from injury and disease. Another specialty, orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, involves the correction of abnormal skeletal structures of the mouth. Other specialties include periodontics (focusing on the gums) and prosthodontics (the use of prosthetics, like dentures and implants).

Education and Licensure Information

To become licensed as specialists, candidates first need to complete an accredited 4-year dental school program, which awards either a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD). Passing the National Board Dental Examinations is required for licensure, and strong scores may be necessary for admission to a postdoctoral dental clinical science specialty program or residency.

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