Specialties exist for most fields of healthcare to best serve our needs. Our mouths have a grand total of 32 adult teeth. Believe it or not, dentistry has about 5 main specialties for just your mouth! All specialists are trained differently and focus on just a limited number of procedures so that outcomes can be more predictable and successful. In other words, if your general dentist is doing all your procedures by themselves, see it as a red flag. Simply put, would you have your plumber do your electrical work? Would you have your gardener do painting and drywall? The mouth is delicate and the right specialist needs to be chosen carefully. Consider your general dentist as your handyman and general contractor and have them quarterback your mouth. Our office offers specialties for you as we collaborate as a team of dentists to get your smile right. Let’s take a closer look at each specialty.
Endodontist: Endo- translates to “inside” or “within.” The endodontist is a specialist that focuses on the treatment of the tooth’s canals or pulp. Essentially the inside of the tooth consists of the root canal. These dentists undergo an average of 3 extra years of schooling and limit their practice to performing root canals. When in need of a root canal, they are the best at diagnosing and treating these. They are most experienced and educated in performing such tasks no matter how simple or difficult the case may seem. Our office exclusively uses an endodontist for every single root canal. Always!
Orthodontist: This specialty deals with the movement of teeth along with correction of malpositioned jaws. In basic terms, this is the best person to see for braces or Invisalign. Typically, the orthodontist goes through 3 extra years of schooling to specialize in aligning the bite, jaws and your smile. Nowadays you see practically every single dentist offering Invisalign. Wouldn’t it be wise to use the specialist to address malalignment and crowding? Oftentimes the cost is exactly the same. Our specialist handles every single Invisalign case at no extra cost.
Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon: These dentists are responsible for surgery of the face, mouth, and jaws. For example, they are responsible for wisdom teeth extraction, jaw fractures, oral cancer management, and implants to name a few. They undergo an additional 4 years of training and sometimes even 6 if they are double-degreed with an M.D. as well. Therefore, our oral surgeon has studied for a total of 10 years! So next time you need 4 wisdom teeth removed, ask yourself who you’d like doing the surgery?
Periodontist: Perio- stands for surrounding. The periodontist is responsible for the surrounding or supporting tissue or structures of your teeth. They are known as the gum specialists. They undergo an extra 3 years of schooling for that. Therefore, if you are suffering from gum disease, they help diagnose and treat it. Like oral surgeons, they too place implants.
Pedodontist: The pedodontist handles our children. They typically undergo extra schooling for this just to manage children. Their offices solely treat children, usually up to their teenage years. If your child is anxious, or has behavioral issues or just a mouth full of cavities this is a great option. Your general dentist can help advise you when your child is in need of a specialist.
These are just 5 specialists listed. Take advantage of their training and always seek the best!