Dentistry is the science concerned with the origin,
development, structure and function of the teeth, jaws,
and mouth, as well as the prevention, diagnosis, and
treatment of diseases in these areas. Someone who
has the skills and a state license to practice dentistry
is known as a dentist. As part of their responsibilities,
dentists repair and restore teeth, replace missing
teeth, fix deformities and injuries of the teeth, and
detect signs of diseases that may need treatment by a
physician. Dentists also create and insert false teeth.
A dentist examines x-rays for a
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There are eight recognized areas specializing in dentistry, in addition to general dentistry
practice. Each specialty requires additional training in that area after graduation from
dental college. The specialty areas are: 1) endodontics [the study of the diagnosis,
treatment, and prevention of diseases inside the teeth]; 2) oral pathology [the study of
diseases of the tissues, teeth, jaws, and saliva producing areas known as glands]; 3)
maxofacial surgery [surgery of the jaws and face); 4) orthodontics [preventing and
correcting irregularities of the teeth]; 5) pediatric dentistry [dentistry with children]; 6)
periodontics [study of the tissues around the teeth and the treatment of abnormalities in
these tissues]; 7) prosthodontics [the science of making fake teeth and parts of the jaw];
and 8) public health dentistry [study of the oral health of the public]. Dentistry is also
known as odontology and odontonosology. Dentistry comes from the Latin word "dens"
meaning "tooth."
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