Dental Specialties

In addition to General Dentistry, there are currently nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA).  The following statistics are attributed to the 2014-15 ADA Survey:

  1. Dental Public Health: the control and prevention of dental disease through organized community efforts
    • # of Programs: 15
    • Applied: 146
    • Accepted: 36
  2. Endodontics:  the study and treatment of tissues affecting the vitality of the teeth (dental pulp)
    • # of Programs: 56
    • Applied: 3,570
    • Accepted: 218
  3. Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology:  the study, diagnosis, and sometimes treatment of diseases in the oral and maxillofacial region
    • # of Programs: 16
    • Applied: 96
    • Accepted: 17
  4. Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology: the production and interpretation of images and data for the diagnosis and management of diseases, disorders and conditions of the oral and maxillofacial region
    • # of Programs: 8
    • Applied: 132
    • Accepted: 17
  5. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery:  surgical and adjunctive treatment of diseases, injuries and defects involving both the function and aesthetic aspects of the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region
    • # of Programs: 101
    • Applied: 10,246
    • Accepted: 257
  6. Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics: the straightening of teeth due to developmental abnormalities that affect function and appearance
    • # of Programs: 67
    • Applied: 10,748
    • Accepted: 375
  7. Pediatric Dentistry: dentistry for children and adolescents, including those with special health care needs
    • # of Programs: 77
    • Applied: 10,716
    • Accepted: 448
  8. Periodontics: the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the supporting and surrounding tissues of the teeth and the maintenance of the health, function, and aesthetics of these structures and tissues
    • # of Programs: 57
    • Applied: 2,457
    • Accepted: 181
  9. Prosthodontics:  the replacement, restoration and maintenance of missing teeth with fixed or removable substitutes
    • # of Programs: 47
    • Applied: 2,222
    • Accepted: 154


In addition to the dental specialties, dental graduates can receive advanced training ranging from one to two years before starting a general dental practice. These programs expand career options and scope of practice as well as sharpen and increase skills and knowledge in specialties that can help in general practice:

  1. Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD): advanced training in clinical dentistry and applied basic sciences with an emphasis in clinical dentistry.  It is a planned, sequential postdoctoral training program specifically designed to meet the needs of recent graduates wanting to enhance their skills as general practitioners
    • # of Programs: 91
    • Applied: 6,439
    • Accepted: 785
  2. General Practice Residency (GPR): advanced clinical and didactic training in general dentistry with an emphasis in medical management. Intensive hospital experience at the postdoctoral level either in a hospital or a hospital affiliated institution
    • # of Programs: 184
    • Applied: 10,989
    • Accepted: 1,097


In addition to general dentistry advanced education programs, there are other non-specialty training programs. However, the Commission on Dental Accreditation does not accreditate them. Postgraduate certificates, master’s degrees, and doctoral degrees may be awarded depending on the program:

  1. Dental anesthesiology: deals with the management of pain through the use of advanced, local and general anesthesia techniques
    • # of Programs: 9
    • Applied: 200
    • Accepted: 34
  2. Oral medicine: concerned with the health care of medically complex patients – including the diagnosis and management of medical conditions that affect the oral and maxillofacial region
    • # of Programs: 7
    • Applied: 66
    • Accepted: 12
  3. Orofacial pain: assessment, diagnosis and treatment of patients with complex chronic orofacial, oromotor, and head and neck pain and dysfunction disorders, as well as the pursuit of knowledge of the underlying pathophysiology mechanisms
    • # of Programs: 10
    • Applied: 119
    • Accepted: 19