Understanding Dental Credentialing

Understanding Dental Credentialing

Dental Specialties

Thanks to some creative marketing schemes and weekend education courses, consumers are often mislead about the credentials of some dental practitioners. The foundational dental credential is the DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or the DMD (Doctor of Medical Dentistry). Those who have completed three or more years of additional training at an accredited institution become specialists in one or more of the 9 disciplines recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA):

  • Dental Public Health
  • Endodontics
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology
  • Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
  • Pediatric Dentistry
  • Periodontics
  • Prosthodontics

Buzzwords and Invented Credentials

Beware marketing buzz words posing as specialties recognized by the ADA. These following “credentials” are common, but they all amount to the same thing: “General or Family Dentist.”

  • Cosmetic Dentistry
  • Sedation Dentistry
  • Reconstructive Dentistry
  • Geriatric Dentistry
  • Implant Dentistry
  • Denturologist
  • Neuromuscular Dentistry

Instead of putting in the years of study need to become a real specialist, some general dentists decorate their business cards with official-sounding initials implying academic achievement. Dentists may receive certificates from non-accredited institutions, following a weekend’s worth of study. Among the most popular of the inflated credentials:

  • FAGD – Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry. The academy competes with the American Dental Association.
  • MAGD – Master of the Academy of General Dentistry.
  • LVI Fellow – The Las Vegas Institute is a for-profit company. No board-certified specialists are on the LVI faculty.
  • LVI Mastership – Another pretend credential.

Now you know the difference. Read testimonials from real patients who have discovered that difference first hand.  This content is courtesy of the American Society for the Advancement of Prosthodontics.

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