Your oral cavity is a wondrous and complex place allowing you to eat, speak and swallow. This is why we make sure that we brush, floss, and ensure that we take care of our mouths. However, no matter how many preventative measures we take, we may still require dental assistance or treatment.
While general dentists can assist with your overall needs and can perform a range of common treatments, a specialist is sometimes needed to assist with more complex cases. Let’s take a look at some of the dental specialists that you may come across on your oral health care journey.
ORAL AND MAXILLOFACIAL SURGEON (OMS)
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are dentists specializing in surgery of the mouth, face and jaws.
After four years of dental school, surgeons receive a further four to seven years of hospital-based surgical and medical training. This prepares them for a wide range of procedures including all types of surgery of both the bones and soft tissues of the face, mouth, and neck.
Periodontists are dentists who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal (gum) disease.
They have had extensive training with two additional years of study after dental school. As specialists, they devote their time, energy and skill to helping patients care for their gums.
A periodontist is one of the eight dental specialists recognized by the American Dental Association.
When would I need to see a periodontist?
You would most likely be referred to a periodontist after your dentist has determined that your gums require special attention.
The periodontist and dentist work together as a team to provide you with the highest level of care. They will combine their experience to recommend the best treatment available to you while keeping each other informed on your progress.
By referring you to the specialist, your dentist is showing a strong commitment to your dental health.
An endodontist examines, diagnoses and treats diseases and destructive processes. This includes injuries and abnormalities of dental pulps and periapical tissues of the teeth.
Endodontists examine patients and interpret radiographs and pulp tests to determine pulp vitality and periapical tissue condition. They then evaluate their findings and prescribe a method of treatment to prevent loss of teeth.
A prosthodontist examines and diagnoses disabilities caused by loss of teeth and supporting structures.
They formulate and execute treatment plans for the construction of corrective prostheses to restore the normal function and aesthetics of the mouth, face, and jaw.
A pediatric dentist has at least two additional years of training beyond dental school. This training focuses on the management and treatment of a child’s developing teeth, the child’s behavior, their physical growth and development, as well as any special needs related to children’s dentistry.
Although both a general and pediatric dentist are capable of addressing your child’s oral health care needs, the environment created by the latter, which involves their staff and even office décor, are all focused on putting children at ease.
If your child has special needs, oral care provided by a pediatric dentist should be considered.
An orthodontist prevents and treats mouth, teeth, and jaw problems.
Using braces, retainers, and other devices, an orthodontist helps straighten a person’s teeth and corrects the way the jaws line up.
Orthodontists also treat kids for many problems. These include having crowded or overlapping teeth or having problems with jaw growth and tooth development. The latter may be caused by tooth decay, losing baby teeth too soon, accidents or habits like thumb sucking. These problems may also be genetic or inherited.
When would I need to see an orthodontist?
Your dentist, or even one of your parents if you’re a child, might recommend it because they see a problem with your teeth or jaws.
A child who doesn’t like the appearance of their teeth might also ask to see an orthodontist.
As you can see, there are many professionals out there who can assist you with all of your oral care requirements. If you need any more information or if you’d like to schedule an appointment with our highly skilled team, simply contact us today.