Public Education




Know before you go...


Most patients are familiar with the general dentist. The general dentist is educated to provide comprehensive services from dental examinations to dental surgery. While most dental procedures can be provided by the general dentist, a patient may be referred to a specialist if the general dentist feels special expertise is necessary.

The American and Oregon Dental Associations recognize these nine types of specialist:


•  Endodontist: Deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease and injuries of the internal soft tissue of the tooth (root canals).
•  Oral And Maxillofacial Surgeon: Treats injuries and deformities, extracts teeth and performs surgery of the mouth, jaw and face.
•  Oral And Maxillofacial Pathology: The specialty of dentistry and discipline of pathology that deals with the nature, identification, and management of diseases affecting the oral and maxillofacial regions.
•  Oral And Maxillofacial Radiology:the specialty of dentistry and discipline of radiology concerned with the production and interpretation of images and data produced by all modalities of radiant energy that are used for the diagnosis and management of diseases, disorders and conditions of the oral and maxillofacial region.
•  Dental Public Health: The science and art of preventing and controlling dental diseases and promoting dental health through organized community efforts
•  Orthodontist: Prescribes and places corrective devices, such as braces, to align teeth and improve health and appearance.
•  Pediatric Dentist: Specializes in the dental health of children from birth through adolescence.
•  Periodontist: Treats diseases of the gums.
•  Prosthodontist: Designs and fits bridge-work and dentures.

At your dental visit...


When you visit a dental office, you are usually greeted by someone and then another person talks with you before you may actually meet the dentist. Below is information about the service providers you'll meet at a dental office.

The Dentist
The dentist is responsible and accountable for everything that goes on in the dental office. Only the licensed dentist is educated and trained to diagnose dental problems, plan treatment or prescribe medication. As long as the licensed dentist supervises, certain phases of dental treatment may be delegated to other members of the dental team.

Dental Hygienist
The dental hygienist cleans teeth and performs other functions under the direction and supervision of a licensed dentist. There are two categories of dental hygienist:
1. Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH)
2. Registered Dental Hygienist in Extended Functions (RDHEF)

The Dental Assistant
Under the supervision of the licensed dentist, the job of the dental assistant is to help the dentist at chairside, take x-rays, and perform other support functions.
This site is dedicated to helping our approximately 300 member dentists in the Washington County area stay abreast of the latest news and technology in the dental field with continuing education courses and events.
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Washington County Dental Society | www.wacountydental.org | (916) 494-8794
6464 SW Borland Road, Suite D1, Tualatin, OR 97062


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