And picking the right one for you
For routine cleaning, x-rays, and filling cavities, we see a general dentist. For most routine procedures and early interventions, these professionals are able to help us from the comfort of our neighborhood dental office. However, as we begin to need more specialized care, either from crooked teeth or a bad crack, there comes a time when we must see a specialist.
While your regular dental provider will have the best information on the type of specialist you need, it’s always good to be well informed on your options. Below, we have the 5 most common dental specialists, what they treat, and when it might be time to make your next appointment.
While the early signs and treatments for gum disease can be handled by a general dentist, more severe problems are best handled by a periodontist.
As specialists in handling issues involving both the gums and bone health, periodontists are the right professional to seek out if you are experiencing sudden pain in the teeth, loosening of your natural teeth, tooth loss, and receding gums.
For the endodontist, diagnosing and treating tooth pain is their speciality. They earn this title by completing several years of added training after dental school to become experts and what ails might befall the pulp of your teeth.
Typically however, an endodontist is known for performing root canals. They complete these procedures far more frequently than a general dentist, giving them the added experience to be equipped at handling even the most challenging of cases.
As alignment specialists, orthodontists help fix misalignment. In dentistry this comes in several varieties, such as misaligned teeth, bite problems, and problems with the jaw and neck such as TMJ and TMD dysfunction.
In order to become an orthodontist, these professionals must be specially trained for several years after completing dentistry school. This creates a well rounded professional well versed in oral health care thus allowing them to assess the health of your teeth and gums doing routine orthodontic visits.
This type of dentist is an expert in prosthetic dentistry, meaning they specialize in dental care involving replacement and restructuring of the mouth. A prosthodontist renders this care by leading treatment plans and creating patient prosthetics including crowns, bridges, dental implants, and dentures.
Depending on the client, this work can be minimal or extensive. While a regular dentist can perform some of these procedures, it is recommended that cases needing more extensive care receive the attention of a specialist.
5. Oral Surgeon
Also known as oral and maxillofacial surgeons, these professionals work with the soft tissues of the face and mouth, most commonly as part of wisdom teeth extractions. However, many such surgeons also perform cleft surgery and corrective jaw procedures. As such, they are one of the few medical professionals who are cleared to administer all levels of anesthesia, as their most common procedures often require intense sedation to be completed.
Like the others, these types of dental professionals receive additional training after dental school, making them a dentist and a specialist. In fact, some may even complete medical school, earning themselves an MD.
A Community Staple in Mesa, Arizona
While the above list is only the most common dental specialties, the American Dental Association recognizes 12 official categories in addition to offering insights into what a dental niche must prove to become a specialty on their own.
As with any dental care however, it’s always safer, easier, and less expensive to stop a problem before it starts. This makes preventative care, the best care.
While we like to be a source of information for anyone researching on the internet, East Valley Dental Practice has its actual home in Mesa, Arizona. Established in the 1980s, we take great pride in having local clients who receive the best dental care and the best service.
If you are in Arizona, don’t hesitate to give us a call at: 480-838-3033 so you can speak to a professional who can help answer your questions or set up an appointment to get a consultation. We are only one call away from a healthier smile.