The Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) and Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.) diagnose, prevent, and treat teeth and tissue problems. They remove decay, fill cavities, examine x-rays, place protective plastic sealants on children’s teeth, straighten teeth, and repair fractured teeth. They also perform corrective surgery on gums and supporting bones to treat gum diseases. Dentists extract teeth and make models and measurements for dentures to replace missing teeth. They provide instruction on diet, brushing, flossing, use of fluorides, and other aspects of dental care, as well. They also administer anesthetics and write prescriptions for antibiotics and other medications.

Most dentists are general practitioners, handling a variety of dental needs. Other dentists practice in one of nine specialty areas including orthodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, pediatric dentistry, periodontics, prosthodontics, endodontics, public health, oral pathology, and oral and maxillofacial radiology.

This health profession description is from the U.S. Department of Labor occupational outlook handbook