A general dentist occasionally refers their patients to a dental specialist to complete more extensive procedures that a regular dentist’s office can’t do. For those individuals wondering which kind of dental professional treats what, here’s a general breakdown for you.
Periodontists care for the teeth and gums. Gums are sensitive tissues surrounding the teeth and without proper care, periodontal disease, or gum disease, is common. Periodontists treat:
- Bone levels of the teeth
- Gum health issues
- Problems with tooth ligaments
- Tooth loss
- Root conditions
After a quick examination by the dentist, they’ll be able to tell if you’re having a problem with your tooth or some other part of your mouth. A periodontist specializes in treatment and prevention of gum disease, oral inflammation, and dental implants.
Endodontists treat the nerve and blood supply inside the teeth’s roots or the tooth “pulp.” If a tooth becomes infected or damaged, it may require a root canal, which is routinely done by this specialist.
Endodontists are known as tooth savers, and if you’re lucky enough that your dentist catches you before you need a root canal, they’ll send you to an endodontist who will help treat and heal that particular area around the tooth.
Pediatric dentists specialize in working with young people under the age of 18 years. Children have different needs and different teeth than adults, so they’ll need to see someone who specialized in pediatric dental care.
These important dentists help encourage kids to upkeep oral health by educating them and explaining how to take care of their teeth properly. These dentists also work with individuals who have special needs. A pediatric dentist may have decorations and tools that are user-friendly for the children they treat.
Orthodontists treat jaw bone and tooth alignment issues to keep their patient’s teeth functioning correctly. They place braces, headgear, aligners, and retainers. A dentist should be able to identify structure issues off the bat and will often send you to an orthodontist to confirm their theories. A good orthodontist will make sure that your braces fit right, and your retainers aren’t hurting you.
Prosthodontists have a fascinating educational background and specialize in creating cosmetic prosthetics like:
- Dental implants
Having a missing tooth is hard for individuals to deal with, and prosthodontists will help you put your smile back together. A new tooth can make a huge difference in your life, thanks to prosthodontists.
Oral and Maxillofacial Specialists
Oral and maxillofacial specialists diagnose, asses and create treatment plans for their patients that happen in the neck, face or mouth. Three types of specialists fall under the heading of oral and maxillofacial specialists.
- Oral pathologist – A patient sees an oral pathologist when a potential patient discovers a bump or possible growth in their jaw or mouth. The oral pathologist is responsible for identifying the lump or growth and managing its treatment. This specialist may need to refer a patient whose lump is diagnosed as cancer to an oral cancer pathologist for further testing, too.
- Oral radiologist – An oral radiologist specializes in interpreting x-rays of the head and neck. Oral radiologists usually use radiant energy and radiographs to take a closer look at suspected diseases in the neck and head regions.
- Oral surgeons – General dentists routinely refer their patients to oral surgeons for specific procedures. Some of the methods an oral surgeon specializes in are tooth extractions, dental implants, and facial surgeries. This specialty requires extensive training after obtaining a DDS degree. Oral surgeons also create treatment plans and various types of prosthetic devices for their patients.
If you’re in pain and you’re not sure what the cause of it is, see your regular dentist first. They’ll be able to identify the source of your discomfort and then give you the name of a specialist who will do all they can to save your teeth.
In the case that you do end up needing treatment for an oral condition, it’s essential to find a specialist that is highly qualified. Dr. Nancy Herbst at Union City Oral Surgery has over 25 years of oral surgery experience and was named one of New Jersey’s top oral surgeons in 2016. She and her team can help diagnose your oral complication and get you the proper treatment. Contact the office at (201) 601-9262 to schedule your appointment today.