Types of Dentists


What is the difference between a BDS, a BDSc, a BDent, a DMD or a DDS degree?  

Almost everyone who visits the dentist would have noticed letters which appear after a dentist’s name, yet you may not be aware of the meaning behind these letters.  

However, a lot of people get confused about the differences between a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS), a Bachelor of Dental Science (BDSc), a Bachelor of Dentistry (BDent), a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS), and a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD). The difference between these degrees is essentially nothing. The duration of the dental course will vary depending on if it’s an undergraduate (direct entry from high school) or a postgraduate (completing another university degree first) program. If they graduate from accredited dental school recognised in Australia, they will all become a registered dentist.  


Can a BDSc, BDS, BDent, DMD, or a DDS in dentistry perform the same things? 

These different degree titles essentially mean they have completed an accredited training program from a recognised university and have a license to practice dentistry. Fundamentally, they are general dentists and are primary oral health providers. When it comes to choosing a dentist, it is more important to consider the location of the clinic, if you are comfortable with the dentist and staff and the range of dental services provided.  

The process of finding a new dentist can be overwhelming but at iSmile Dentistry, our professional, diverse dental team can cater for different patients’ expectations and needs. 

Here’s everything you need to know about the different types of dentists and the conditions they treat.  


What is the role of a General Dentist? 

Your dentist can diagnose and treat the most common dental conditions including: 

  • Tooth decay/cavities 
  • Gum disease 
  • Dental crowns and dental bridges 
  • Root canal therapy 
  • Preventative care – advice and education to help you maintain optimal oral hygiene 
  • Teeth whitening 


Dental Specialists at iSmile Dentistry 

For more complex cases, your dentist may refer you to a dental specialist. Dental specialists have undergone an additional 3 years of training to specialise in a particular discipline of dentistry. Drs Alan Lee and Ivy Hsiao completed their specialist training from the United States (USA), Boston University and New York University respectively. Drs Thai Yeng and Mark Atkinson completed their specialist training from Australia, Melbourne University and Sydney University respectively. 

There are many different disciplines within the field of dentistry. At iSmile Dentistry, we are fortunate to have a team of highly skilled specialists in Periodontics, Endodontics, Prosthodontics and Oral Surgery. Below you will find a brief overview of each type of dentist and the treatments they offer. 

Periodontist – Diseases or conditions which occur around the teeth are treated by a periodontist. These dentists are capable of diagnosing and treating issues with the gums or other supporting tissues/structures of the teeth.  

You may be referred to a periodontist for: 

  • Treatment of advanced periodontal (gum) disease  
  • Gum contouring and grafting 
  • Root amputation 
  • Dental bone graft 
  • Planning and placement of dental implants 


Endodontist – Conditions relating to the dental pulp (innermost part of the tooth containing nerves and blood vessels) are treated by an endodontist. The primary goal of an endodontist is to alleviate tooth pain whilst saving the patients natural teeth, which is achieved through endodontic treatment (root canal therapy).  

If you have an inflamed/infected dental pulp or a cracked tooth, you may be referred to an endodontist for: 

  • Diagnosis and treatment of tooth pain 
  • Root canal treatment 


Prosthodontist – Patients who have lost or damaged teeth may be referred to a prosthodontist. These specialists can help you restore a fully functional, natural looking smile.  

Prosthodontic treatments include: 

  • Dental implants
  • Dental bridges 
  • Dentures 
  • Sleep apnoea therapy 
  • Temporomandibular (TMJ) therapy 


Oral Surgeon – An oral surgeon treats injuries and conditions affecting the mouth, teeth, jaws or face. They have also undergone additional training in the administration of anaesthesia to ensure optimal comfort for patients undergoing oral surgery.  

You may be referred to an oral surgeon for the following: 

  • Wisdom teeth extractions 
  • Tooth extraction 
  • Dental implants 
  • Biopsy of suspicious/abnormal growths within the oral cavity 
  • Oral cancer treatment and management 

Unlike other dental clinics, we, at iSmile Dentistry, can refer you to one of our registered dental specialists for specific management of more complex dental conditions under the one premise, saving you the hassle of needing to go elsewhere. 


Book an Appointment at iSmile Dentistry Today 

iSmile Dentistry offers more than just general dentistry services. We are fortunate to have a team of highly accomplished dental specialists onboard, enabling us to carry out a wide range of specialist treatments at our St Leonards Dental Clinic.  

If you’re due for a check-up or require a referral to a dental specialist, please book an appointment today by calling 02 9030 4310.