Determine the Specialist You Need to See to Take Care of Your Teeth
Your teeth play a key role in your health and daily life. And that’s why people see specialist doctors called dentists to get the best possible care for them.
But with a stunning array of dental health services available, it can be hard to determine who you need to see to keep your chompers in good condition.
Consider these categories when determining who to call the next time you need dental care.
Preventative Dental Care
General dentistry offers diagnostic and preventative dental care to people of all ages. This type of care is meant to prevent dental health issues from cropping up and addressing minor issues when they do, like cavities and enamel wear.
A general dental practice takes X-rays, provides dental exams and cleanings, and offers fluoride treatments and sealants. They also can perform teeth fillings and other minor procedures in the office.
The American Dental Association recommends visiting a general dentist twice a year for preventative dental care.
Cosmetic dentistry is any elective service that people pursue to get a more perfect-looking smile. This subcategory of dentistry encompasses procedures as simple as teeth whitening, to as complex as custom porcelain veneers, tooth bonding and contouring, dental implants, and more.
These are meant to improve your appearance and brighten your smile, and they’re becoming ever more popular.
Often said to be a branch of cosmetic dentistry, orthodontics encompass any dental treatment that straightens the teeth and corrects the bite using modalities like traditional braces, retainers, palate expanders, or clear teeth aligners.
Orthodontia tends to be completely optional and is focused on simply straightening the teeth for aesthetic purposes. However, some people who receive orthodontic treatment do so because their bite is causing difficulty eating, breathing, or talking.
Periodontal treatments are meant to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases of the teeth and their supporting structures, including the gingiva. Often focused on treating gum disease, periodontics are a necessary specialization, especially when you consider that gum disease increases your risk of cardiovascular health problems. Periodontists are experts about gums and surgeries like gum grafts or pocket reductions.
Endodontics is another term for root canals! A root canal becomes necessary when the inside of a tooth becomes infected or diseased. Because the tooth’s interior can be sensitive and is painful when afflicted with endodontic disease, it becomes necessary to perform a root canal.
A root canal saves the tooth from infection and involves, essentially, cleaning the canals inside your tooth’s root. This type of treatment used to be quite painful, but the modernized procedure is relatively painless and has a fast recovery time.
Prosthodontics comes from Greek and Latin root words meaning “an addition.” In dentistry, prosthodontics involve the restoration and replacement of missing teeth.
These dental specialists design and fit artificial tooth replacements, such as implants, bridges, or dentures. Prosthodontic specialists also tend to be experts with crowns and veneers.
Any time someone is missing a tooth and needs a false one to take its place, they’re likely visiting a prosthodontist for help.
Pediatric dentistry refers to any dental care provided to children. Just as a child visits a pediatrician for their medical care, they visit a pediatric dentist for the health of their teeth.
Pediatric dentists care for kids from infancy through their teenage years, and offer routine services like dental cleanings and exams, as well as cavity fillings.
And because they’re experts at understanding tooth development as a child grows, they know how to care for kids of all ages using specialized practices to put kids at ease.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
More complex dental surgeries that require general anesthesia must be performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. These highly-skilled dentists are well-informed about jaw injuries and defects and are focused on restoring both appearance and function to the mouth.
Corrective jaw surgeries, complex tooth extractions, correcting cleft palates, and more are common services that an oral and maxillofacial surgeon provides.
Not Sure The Kind of Care You Need?
If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, or if you suspect you may have a dental-related health issue, then it’s wise to make an appointment as soon as possible. But with so many dental health service specialties, how do you know who to call?
Your best bet is to start with your general dentist. They can conduct an exam and oral cancer screening and then determine whether they need to refer you to a specialist or if they can take care of you right in their office through dental cleanings, extractions, orthodontics, and more.
And even if you find out your teeth are in perfect health, you’ll want to keep them that way by scheduling regular dental cleanings.
Laila Azzahra is a professional writer and blogger that loves to write about technology, business, entertainment, science, and health.