A dentist who provides services to maintain optimum oral hygiene and dental health. A dentist performs dental hygiene (tooth cleanings), X-rays, fills cavities. Some also provide teeth whitening, bonding, crowns, veneers, tooth scaling, and even root canals.
Dentists are required to complete four years at an accredited dental school in order to receive either a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree.
Additionally they must pass a two part written national board exam, as well as a written and practice state board examination, after which they are given a license to practice.
How to find a dentist? It's estimated there are 150K dentists in the US. You can find a local dentist from local dentistry schools, or sites like Free Dentist Finder. You can also check with your dental insurance company, as they may only work with certain dentists in your area. Be sure to check your State Dentistry Board to ensure that the dentist you choose is properly licensed. Ask about your prospective dentist about their experience, thoroughness of practice, photos of previous patients, use of new technology (i.e digital x-rays), plan of action for your teeth, "bedside" manner, emergency care options, and of course financing/costs.
Orthodontist: a dentist who specializes in the treatment of misaligned bites, resulting from the irregular formation of the teeth, or jaw, called malocclusions. The treatment usually consists of dental braces, or retainers designed to realign the bite. In severe cases of malocclusions, surgery maybe required. Most candidates for braces are between the ages of 5-15, however adults may require use them as well. It's estimated that up to 50% of the US population suffer from some form of irregular teeth.