In addition to general dentistry, there are 9 recognized dental specialties in the United States. To become a specialist requires training in a residency or advanced graduate training program. In addition to dental school, a residency in a dental specialty typically consists of two to four or more years of study in a specific area of dentistry. Once residency is completed, the doctor is granted a certificate of specialty training. Many specialty programs have optional or required advanced degrees such as a masters degree: (MS, MSc, MDS, MSD, MDSc, MMSc, or MDent), doctoral degree: (DClinDent, DMSc, or PhD), or medical degree: (MD/MBBS) specific to Maxillofacial Surgery and sometimes Oral Medicine).
Specialists in these fields warrant exclusive titles such as oral and maxillofacial surgeon, periodontist, orthodontist, pediatric dentist, or endodontist upon satisfying certain local requirements. The dental specialist then limits his practice to that area of specialization.