The Difference Between Dentists and Dental Specialties

At Periodontal Health Center we provide comprehensive periodontal care using state-of-the-art technology and professional skills. Our practice specializes in the treatment of gum disease including cosmetic procedures to aesthetically enhance your smile and dental implants that can replace missing teeth.

We'll tell you more about periodontists in this blog, but will also go over the role of dentists and other oral health specialists that you might need during the life of your smile.


A dentist is a doctor that specializes in oral health. Their responsibilities include diagnosing oral diseases; promoting oral health and disease prevention; creating treatment plans to maintain or restore oral health; interpreting x-rays, monitoring the growth of teeth and jaws; and performing surgical procedures on the teeth, bone, and soft tissues of the oral cavity.


"Orthodontics" is derived from the Greek words orthos ("correct", "straight") and -odont- ("tooth"). An orthodontist can focus on dental displacement only, or deal with the control and modification of facial growth. All orthodontists are dentists, but only 6% of dentists are orthodontists. Orthodontists offer traditional braces or clear braces (Invisalign) to move the teeth and perfect smiles and bites.


Periodontists have specialized education in gums and bone. While a dentist can help prevent and treat minor cases of periodontal disease with routine cleanings and even antibiotics, if you are experiencing an advanced case of disease, a periodontist is who you want to see as soon as possible. Periodontists handle soft tissue removal, hard tissue recontouring, deep pocket cleanings, bone grafting, and dental implants. Dr. Stilley and Dr. Lieber completed three years of specialized training on top of their degrees in order to officially become periodontists.


Prosthodontists specialize in fixing or replacing teeth. You may want to visit a prosthodontist for dental implants or dentures. They also fit bridges, crowns and veneers and do some reconstructive work. Think prosthetic (an artificial device that replaces a missing body part)—in this case, teeth.

Cosmetic/Aesthetic Dentist

Cosmetic dentists focus on the aesthetics of teeth, not including teeth straightening or movement, as orthodontists do. These individuals offer tooth whitening, veneers, bonding, and some include dental implants.

In a perfect world of smiles, visiting a dentist twice a year would be the extent of your oral health needs; but, it is good to know that problems can be solved when they arise. Keeping up with your brushing, flossing, and dental visits will help your mouth and gums to stay healthy, and your dentist can identify issues that may need another specialist. If you need periodontal care, or think you might, you do not need a referral. Just request an appointment 24/7 on our website.