Thursday, February 9, 2012

Dental Specialists-What Does Each One Do? Part 1

A common question posed to those of us in the dental industry is "why do I need a specialist?"
It is a common occurrence for a general dentist to refer a patient to a specialist if the work needed is outside the realm of his expertise. Many people assume that all dentists should be capable of fixing every problem, regardless of the level of difficulty, however, this is simply not the case. While it is true that general practitioners are trained in all aspects of the field, some have had advanced training in specific areas, and others have gone on to a higher level of training and received a certificate to practice a specialty. You wouldn't trust your heart to a foot doctor, would you? Just as the medical profession has Cardiologists and Podiatrists and Opthamologists, the dental industry has many different fields as well.
Below are the different types of dental specialties, along with a brief explanation for what their function is.
* Endodontist - An endodontist is skilled at root canals. Their mission is aimed at saving teeth, as opposed to having them extracted.
* Oral Surgeon - Oral Surgeons extract wisdom teeth or other "problem teeth", place implants, treat TMJ, repair fractures and other injuries to the jawbone and facial bone structure. Some are even qualified to perform cosmetic surgery. This type of surgeon is called an Oral/Maxillofacial Surgeon.
*Orthodontist - An Orthodontist does braces. Their mission is to repair the bite and adjust misaligned teeth.
*Periodontist - A periodontist treats the gums and tissues of the mouth, and also places implants. Their job is most important for preventing loss of teeth by keeping the mouth clean and free of bacterial disease, which is a leading cause of tooth loss.
*Pedodontist - A Pedodontist treats all aspects of children's teeth.
*Prosthodontist - A Prosthodontist is skilled at crowns, bridges, dentures and the final restoration of implants.

In part 2 of this blog I will address which doctors are qualified to do implants.

Until then,

Keep Smiling!!!

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