Do you have questions about the different types of dental specialists you may have heard of? For example, “How do you know when you need a dental specialist?” and “What makes them a specialist anyway?”
People tend to find a general dentist and if the general dentist feels that the need is beyond his or her expertise, they will refer you to a specialist. The more you know, the more you will be prepared to either anticipate a referral to a specialist or go directly to one. For example, years ago when I had my wisdom teeth extracted, I knew that I needed to go to an oral surgeon because that’s what my sister had done and they are usually the best person for the job.
Dental specialists usually have advanced training in a specific field of dentistry and because the only focus on that aspect of dentistry, they usually have more experience than a general dentist.
Here are the most common types of dental specialists:
Biological Dentist – Dentists who practice holistically and seek to find connections between abnormalities in the mouth that relate to one’s total health. Some examples would be mercury fillings having a neuro-toxic impact on a patient, or a patient having dental components in their mouth that they are allergic to. For more info on biological dentistry, visit the International Academy of Biological Dentistry & Medicine.
Cosmetic Dentists – These dentists make you look good by performing procedures such as teeth whitening, tooth bonding, tooth restorations, veneers, dental implants, or color matching.
Endodontists – These are dentists that specialize in root canals and surgical treatments of the teeth roots. They can actually make the root canal process painless; I have experienced this first hand.
Oral (& Maxillofacial) Surgeons – Dentists that specialize in oral surgery, including but not limited to wisdom teeth extraction, TMJ surgery, corrective jaw surgery, dental implants, sleep apnea surgery, and facial surgery.
Orthodontist – Dentists that work to correct structural misalignment of teeth and jaws, usually through the use of braces or Invisalign.
Pediatric Dentists – Dentists who specialize in dental care for infants, children, and adolescents.
Periodontists – Dentists that specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the supporting and surrounding tissues of the teeth.
Prosthodontists – Dentists that specialize in the treatment planning, rehabilitation and maintenance of the oral functions associated with missing or deficient teeth and/or oral and maxillofacial tissues.
Sedation Dentistry – This is a field of dentistry where dentists use various forms of pharmacological calming agents to reduce anxiety in patients.