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The word dental is used for things pertaining to teeth and could refer to:

  • Dentistry, a medical profession
  • Dental Auxiliary
  • Dental hygienist, a licensed practitioner
  • Dental technician
  • Any variety of other professions, such as “Dental assistant”, someone who works in a dentist’s office, but may not be a licensed medical worker.

Dentistry is the branch of medicine that is involved in the study, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases, disorders and conditions of the oral cavity, maxillofacial area and the adjacent and associated structures and their impact on the human body. Dentistry is widely considered necessary for complete overall health. Those who practice dentistry are known as dentists. The dentist's supporting team aids in providing oral health services, which includes dental assistants, dental hygienists, dental technicians, and dental therapists.

All dentists train for around 4 or 5 years at University and qualify as a 'dental surgeon'. By nature of their general training they can carry out the majority of dental treatments such as restorative (fillings, crowns, bridges), prosthetic (dentures), endodontic (root canal) therapy, periodontal (gum) therapy, and exodontia (extraction of teeth), as well as performing examinations, radiographs (x-rays) and diagnosis. Dentists can also prescribe certain medications such as antibiotics, fluorides, and sedatives but they are not able to prescribe the full range that physicians can.

Dentists need to take additional qualifications or training to carry out more complex treatments such as sedation, oral and maxillofacial surgery, and implants. Whilst the majority of oral diseases are unique and self limiting, some can indicate poor general health, tumours, blood dyscrasias and abnormalities including genetic problems.


There are nine dental specialties. They are:

  • Public Health Dentistry
  • Endodontics
  • Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology
  • Oral & Maxillofacial Radiology
  • Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery (Oral Surgeon)
  • Orthodontics
  • Pediatric Dentistry
  • Periodontics
  • Prosthodontics
  • General Dentistry
Bachelor of Dental Surgery:

Bachelor of Dental Surgery (B.D.S) is a first professional degree programme in dentistry. Other equivalent dental degrees are the BChd, DDS, DMD, BDent and BDSc.

In India, training in dentistry is through a 5 year BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery) course, which includes 4 years of study followed by one year of internship. As of 2010, there were a total of 291 colleges (39 run by the government and 252 in the private sector) offering dental education. This amounts to an annual intake of 23,690 graduates.

Master of Dental Surgery:

The Master of Dental Surgery is a post graduate programme in dentistry is for three years in the concerned specialty.

Master of Dental Surgery (MDS) is offered in the following subjects:

  • Prosthodontics
  • Periodontics
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (Oral Surgery)
  • Conservative Dentistry & Endodontics
  • Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopaedics
  • Oral Pathology
  • Community Dentistry
  • Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry
  • Oral Medicine

Dental education in India is regulated by the Dental Council of India.