A Guide to Understanding Dental Specialities

At times, when the dental treatment you need is more than what we can provide, we refer you over to the pros who can.

To help you better understand which dental specialist does what, here is a plain-English breakdown of the pro-list:

1. Endodontists

Oh, the nerve. I don’t mean to play favorites, but I will. Endodontists are root canal wizards. If you have a toothache that won’t go away, or an infection headed to funky town, this is where you need to go.

They test, they diagnose, they get you out of pain. A root canal is the last resort to save your natural tooth, and if it can be salvaged, they’re the ones who can help.

2. Periodontics

Masters of all things related to gums and bone, periodontists will pull you back if you’re teetering over the edge of periodontal disease. In addition, they’re pros at placing dental implants to replace missing teeth, as well as help identify and treat various gum ailments.

3. Pediatric Dentists

They see little people…aka kids. They are the go-to specialists for childrenwho need to be sedated for treatment, are really young, or have special needs.

However, even kids who don’t need any of the above sometimes feel more comfortable in a pediatric dental setting–and who could blame them? Their offices are more colorful and fun than those for adults, and they know how to cater to their pint-sized patients.

4. Orthodontists

Brace yourself…..they will set you–and your teeth–straight. If you’ve had braces, no doubt you’ve  spent many an afternoon in an orthodontist’s office. Get checked early enough and they can check for any funkiness in your jaw growth or an off-kilter bite.

Make no mistake, though. They treat adults as well, those who perhaps didn’t get the chance to straighten their smile growing up.

5. Oral-Maxillofacial Surgeons

Now that’s a mouthful. Better known as “Oral Surgeons“, not only do they take wisdom teeth out and place dental implants, they also do fancy-schmancy stuff like sinus lifts, facial reconstructions after trauma and help those with birth defects such as cleft lip or palate.

6. Prosthodontists

Prosthodontists are like specialized general dentists. For complicated situations that involve full mouth reconstruction or perplexing bites or jaw issues, they are your best resource.

(The American Dental Association lists a few more specialties, but the above list includes those commonly seen for most dental issues.)

It’s always more comforting to understand (rather than guess) the different aspects of dental treatment, should you need it.

Hopefully the above guide served as a good translation of ‘Dental-ese’ to help better understand the major dental specialties.

 

Article originally published in raodentistry.wordpress.com.

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