Often, when a patient visits their dentist for a six-month examination and professional dental cleaning, the provider is a general dentist. Nevertheless, there are times when their primary dental provider needs to refer them to other dental practitioners who specialize in particular areas of dentistry.
Here are a few different types of dentists and what they do.
A children's dentist specializes in the care of pediatric patients. In addition to the training that is received by a general dentist, these professionals, who are also called pedodontists, are trained to help them establish positive relationships with their young patients. They are also prepared to work with special needs patients.
The office of the pedodontist may be decorated with cartoons and bright colors. Additionally, the provider may offer small toys to their young patients as prizes for good behavior.
Endodontists are trained to deal with oral health conditions that involve the interior of a tooth. Thus, they are often called upon to perform root canal procedures, where the pulp, or innermost layer of tooth material, is removed.
Since the pulp contains the nerves of the tooth, procedures performed by endodontists often eliminate oral discomfort.
Orthodontists treat bite issues and dental misalignments. If the patient's teeth are crowded or crooked, they can offer treatment solutions, such as traditional braces, clear plastic aligners, or retainers.
A patient may see an orthodontist and a general dentist throughout the course of their orthodontic treatment.
Prosthodontists specialize in the replacement of teeth. Once a tooth is lost, it can have a significant impact on the patient's appearance and their ability to speak and chew. Prosthodontists use restorative applications, such as implants, dentures, and bridges to restore missing teeth.
Oral surgeons perform surgical procedures to treat the mouth. Thus, they may regularly place dental implants, which are surgically inserted through the gums into the jawbone. Additionally, they may extract wisdom teeth and conduct biopsies to help test for oral cancer.
In addition to general dentistry training, oral surgeons are educated to apply proper amounts of anesthesia.
To help keep your teeth and gums their healthiest, your primary dental provider may sometimes refer you to other practitioners who specialize in specific areas of dentistry. Nevertheless, you may still see your general provider for routine care and most other dental procedures.
If you have a concern about your oral health, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your area.