Your dentist, a partner in your health

Dentists are the health professionals who see to the prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment of deficiencies and abnormalities of the mouth, teeth, jaws and their surrounding tissues in the human body. They use diagnostic tools, such as radiograph pictures, to identify and cure diseases, wounds and malformations of teeth and gums. They also can prescribe medication.


To practise dentistry in Quebec, a dentist must hold a degree from a Quebec university or have a degree or training from outside Quebec that is recognized by the Order. He or she must also pass the Order’s examination to obtain a permit.


In Quebec, depending on the university attended, it takes four or five years of study to earn a doctorate in dental medicine. A dentist may then choose to continue studying, in one of the specialties recognized by the ODQ.

The practice of dentistry

Most dentists in Quebec work in private practice. Some work in the public sector, in a hospital setting, or in the fields of prevention and public dental health.


Others opt for a career in administration, research or teaching, generally within a school of dentistry.


The practice of dentistry in Quebec is overseen by the Ordre des dentistes du Québec (ODQ).


In addition to preventive care, a dentist may:


  • Supply preventive care
  • Restore damaged teeth
  • Perform surgery on gums and maxillary bone.
  • Replace missing teeth with bridges, partial or complete dentures and implants



Whether they are generalists or specialists, dentists can perform all dental procedures. However, before beginning treatment, the dentist must consider the limits of his or her skills, knowledge and means at his or her disposal. He or she may also refer the patient to another generalist or specialist. A referral is not necessary for a patient to consult a specialist.

10 recognized specialties and their fields of practice

1. Oral and maxillofacial surgery

A specialization in surgical interventions for pathologies, injuries and various malformations of bones of the jaws and the face. It also involves more conventional interventions with particular difficulties or risk factors.


2. Pediatric dentistry

The diagnosis, prevention and treatment of oral disease, anomalies and trauma to the teeth and jaws of children, from birth to adolescence.


3. Endodontics

A branch of dentistry concerned with the pulp chamber, i.e. the central cavity of the tooth containing dental pulp, nerves and blood vessels, and the root canals, which carry blood vessels and nerves toward the dental pulp. These dentists are specialists in root canal treatments.


4. Oral medicine

Diagnosis and non-surgical treatment of diseases and lesions of the mouth and temporomandibular disorders (joints, muscles, dental occlusion, tongue, etc.).


5. Orthodontics

The diagnosis, prevention and treatment of anomalies in the positioning of the teeth and bones that can lead to dental malocclusions (improperly positioned teeth) or improper contact between teeth, for functional and esthetic purposes. The orthodontist is the specialist in fixed corrective devices (“braces”) and removable corrective devices.

6. Periodontics

The diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the tissues and bones that support the teeth.


7. Oral and maxillofacial pathology

The clinical and microscopic diagnosis, management and treatment (mainly non surgical) of diseases and physiological problems affecting the mouth or jaw.


8. Prosthodontics

The restoration or replacement of natural teeth by means of prostheses, veneers, implants, crowns and bridges that the dentist fashions and fits.


9. Oral and maxillofacial radiology

The interpretation of images obtained by various imaging technologies in order to establish a radiographic diagnosis of diseases and conditions affecting the oral cavity, jaws and face.


10. Dental public health

A specialist in the field of public health, involved in the development and management of public dental health programs.

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