Dentist

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Dentists are health professionals who specialize in mouth and dental health problems. Dentists can diagnose and treat dental problems, such as cavities and tooth loss, and perform cosmetic procedures, such as whitening teeth.

Dentists may further specialize in areas such as:

  • Gum disease (periodontist).
  • Straightening of the teeth (orthodontist).
  • Nerves of the teeth (endodontist).
  • Surgery on the mouth and gums (oral surgeon).
  • Tooth restoration (prosthodontist).

Also, dentists may specialize in treating specific age groups, such as pediatric dentists, who only treat children.

Dentists earn a college degree and then attend 4 years of dental school. Dentists must pass a national examination and be licensed by the state in which they practice.




The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.