Dentist: A dentist is a person who is qualified as a doctorate in dental surgery (D.D.S.) or dental medicine (D.M.D.), licensed by the state to practice dentistry, and practicing within the scope of that license. There is no difference between the two degrees: dentists who have a DMD or DDS (both have same education). Universities have the prerogative to determine what degree is awarded. Both degrees use the same curriculum requirements set by the American Dental Association's Commission on Dental Accreditation. Generally, three or more years of undergraduate education plus four years of dental school is required to graduate and become a general dentist. State licensing boards accept either degree as equivalent, and both degrees allow licensed individuals to practice the same scope of general dentistry. Additional post-graduate training is required to become a dental specialist.
Services provided by a Dentist: By nature of their general training, a licensed dentist can carry out most dental treatments such as tooth whitening, filling and restorative (like dental implants, crowns, bridges), orthodontics (braces), prosthodontic (dentures, crown/bridge), endodontic (root canal) therapy, periodontal (gum) therapy, and oral surgery (extraction of teeth), as well as performing examinations, taking radiographs (x-rays) and diagnosis. Additionally, dentists can further engage in oral surgery procedures such as dental implant placement. Dentists can also prescribe medications such as antibiotics, fluorides, pain killers, local anesthetics, sedatives/hypnotics and any other medications that serve in the treatment of the various conditions that arise in the head and neck.