The 7 types of dentists & Their DifferencesGeneral Dentist. A general dentist is the most generic of all types of dentists. Most people know when to see a general dentist, but what about their dental problems that are less routine? There are many types of specialist dentists depending on your oral care problem. To help you make decisions about specific dental problems, we'll discuss the most common types of dentists and dental specialists and when to see each of them.
General dentists are primary care oral health providers and are one of the most common types of dentists. You can visit your general dentist for routine dental cleanings and dental exams. In these exams, a general dentist will evaluate the health of your teeth and gums and perform treatments such as tooth decay removal, root canals, and dental crowns. Your general dentist will also refer you to other types of dentists if you need services and procedures for which they are not qualified.
Pediatric dentistry specialists offer youth-oriented approaches to routine dental care, as well as to dental problems specific to pediatrics. A pedodontist will monitor the child's teeth and oral development and refer the child to an orthodontist, when needed. Orthodontists specialize in aligning the teeth and jaw, using wires, braces, retainers, and other devices. If you have an overbite, an underbite, a cross bite, or misaligned teeth, you may be referred to an orthodontist for correction.
Periodontists help treat and repair gum diseases and problems. While a general dentist will support the prevention of gum disease, a periodontist will provide treatment (including minor surgery) for tissue damaged by progressive gum disease. You may also be referred to a periodontist for dental implants. When you have a dental problem, your general dentist or even your primary care doctor can refer you to any type of dentistry that they are not qualified for.
It's important to visit your general dentist at least once a year, not only to clean your teeth, but also to have an exam to ensure your oral health. Getting a professional opinion will help you manage any potential problem before it becomes a bigger problem. See your general dentist right away if you feel any pain in your mouth. For dental emergencies, such as a chipped tooth, a fallen tooth filling, or a dental abscess, the first step should be to talk to your general dentist.
When you think about dentistry, you might picture your family's dental office, where you go regularly for teeth cleaning and checkups. However, the profession expands much more than this, and your general dentist is just one specialty in the field. Are you curious to know what other types of dentists exist? You've come to the right place. A general dentist is also known as a family dentist and takes care of your oral health on a regular basis.
This is the most common type of dentist and most of their work revolves around important preventive oral care. This includes regular dental cleanings, dental x-rays, and educating patients about proper oral care at home. General dentists are also responsible for restorative oral care, such as treating tooth decay by replacing it with artificial fillings, repairing cracked, chipped, or missing teeth, and whitening services. They also treat oral problems caused by gum disease and root problems below the gum line.
Your general dentist can also guide you through the process of placing braces, false teeth, mouth guards, and other treatments. Because your general dentist is the health professional you're likely to see most often, he'll also monitor the health of your mouth, neck, and head to make sure there are no problems. While general dentists are capable of treating most conditions and may even have significant experience providing items of specialized care, they will very often refer you to a specific type of dental specialist, such as those listed below. You may know orthodontists as those who install braces, but their care goes far beyond that.
Generally speaking, orthodontists are concerned with correcting misaligned teeth, jaw bones, and other facial support structures for aesthetic and functional reasons. This means that they work to improve people's bites by designing custom oral accessories, such as dental appliances, transparent trays for aligning teeth, mouth guards, headdresses, retainers and face masks that correct developmental problems. All of these devices work over time to improve bone structure that may be deformed and teeth that have spacing problems. In British Columbia, orthodontists have the right to designate themselves as “certified orthodontic specialists.”.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons focus on the hard and soft tissues found in and around the mouth. These tissues include the gums, cheeks, lips, hard palate, soft palate, tongue, and facial tissues. These surgeons receive medical training in hospitals after their dental studies and, therefore, perform more invasive surgeries than other dental professionals, such as complex tooth extractions, surgical corrections of the jaw or smoothing as a basis for the formation of false teeth. They also perform reconstructive surgery, cleft palate or cleft lip surgery and, sometimes, biopsies, removal of cancerous tissue, facial infections, or even treatments for sleep apnea.
Oral surgeons often lay the foundation for future dental work, since they deal with the surgical improvements that must be made to the teeth and supporting bones before they can perform oral appliances, false teeth, or cosmetic procedures. Gums are the focus of periodontics, and periodontists are concerned with preventing, diagnosing, and treating a variety of gum problems. This may include treating extreme gum inflammation and pain, diagnosing and treating extreme gum disease (also known as periodontal disease), installing dental implants, and performing cosmetic skin grafts on the gums. In general terms, anything that involves extensive work on the gums is when a periodontist intervenes.
The treatment of gum disease is a very important part of periodontics and, therefore, periodontists often recommend prevention and treatment plans to general dentists that are adapted to the patients' lifestyles. In British Columbia, periodontists have the right to designate themselves as “certified periodontal specialists.”. As their title suggests, prosthodontists are responsible for providing oral prostheses that replace damaged, decayed, or missing teeth. Oral prostheses are false teeth appliances and include crowns, bridges, dentures, dental implants, and veneers.
These dental replacements are usually both aesthetic and functional, as they can greatly improve the ability to chew, bite and speak effectively and safely. You may have heard the term “smile makeover,” which involves a complete revision and visual appearance of a person's smile. Prosthodontists are usually responsible for carrying out this operation, both for aesthetic reasons and for cases of traumatic reconstruction. Prosthodontists work closely with dental laboratories that create oral appliances and false teeth to ensure that the customization and quality of the prostheses they work with are perfectly suited to each patient.
In British Columbia, prosthodontists have the right to designate themselves as “certified prosthodontic specialists”. The inner part of the tooth, which is protected by the hard enamel of the tooth and the inner layer of dentin, is located below the gum line and is known as the pulp. It is soft and made up of sensitive living tissue, and is the part of the tooth that endodontists focus on. Tooth pulp can be damaged, inflamed, or decay due to injury, trauma, or decay and must therefore be treated or removed.
If it can be treated and preserved, this keeps the tooth alive in the patient's mouth. But if it cannot be preserved, the treatment required is known as endodontics, which is probably the most common procedure performed by endodontists in their profession. In British Columbia, endodontists have the right to designate themselves as “certified endodontic specialists.”. When it comes to dentistry, there is no single dentist that will handle all the different dental problems that may arise.
In fact, there are several dental specialists who specialize in different areas of the mouth, dental conditions, and more. Next, we'll discuss some of the different types of dentists to help you better understand why you might be referred to a new dental provider when a dental condition arises. A general dentist is better known as your primary dental care provider and is the dentist you go to when you go for a cleaning or an X-ray. This type of dentist will diagnose dental conditions, treat minor conditions, and manage your overall oral health.
You can expect your general dentist to handle simple to moderate dental procedures that include root canals, extractions, gum care, bridges, crowns and fillings. An endodontist is a dental specialist who cares for the pulp and nerve of a patient's tooth. This specialist performs endodontic procedures on patients and is likely to be a general dentist who has received additional training. For complicated radicular surgical procedures, you should see an endodontist.
An orthodontist is a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of dental problems that affect the teeth, jaw, and their structures. For example, an orthodontist will help you straighten your teeth and identify when braces are needed. This dentist specializes in retainers and corrective appliances to improve the patient's bite and smile. A pediatric dentist specializes in dental care for children.
This dentist is similar to a general dentist, but only focuses on children's teeth and can also clean, diagnose, and treat dental problems in young babies. Pediatric dentists have two additional years of dental training in which they learn more about how teeth develop. This type of dentist is responsible for any type of surgery that involves the mouth, jaw, or face. You'll usually see an oral and maxillofacial surgeon if you've experienced trauma to your face, jaw, or mouth.
These dentists also treat patients who have cysts or tumors. If you want to receive dental implants, you should visit this dental specialist to have the posts placed in your jaw. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons receive an additional four to eight years of training, beyond traditional dental school. It can be difficult to determine what type of dentist you should visit, especially since there are so many different specialties.
Some patients may think that they need to see an endodontist when in fact they need to see an orthodontist. Your general dentist is your go-to dentist for most of the routine procedures you'll have performed, including dental cleanings and checkups, oral disease testing, sealants, root canals, fillings, and crowns. You'll visit an endodontist when you have problems with the inside or root of the tooth. This dentist performs root canals, fills the nerve canal, removes infected tissues from the inside of the tooth and works on the inside of the tooth.
You'll visit an orthodontist when you need to have your bite or facial balance checked. This dentist can provide you with braces, retainers and dental appliances. You may receive a referral to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon if you have suffered facial injuries, need wisdom teeth removed, have a jaw disorder, need reconstructive surgery, or want to have dental implants placed. This type of dentist is the same as a general dentist, but it treats pediatric patients.
Your children will visit a pediatric dentist for all of their dental cleanings and work. There are two types of dentists who handle dental implants, and that includes prosthodontists and oral and maxillofacial surgeons. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are responsible for placing dental implants in the jaw and prosthodontists are responsible for replacing the implants and placing the crowns on the implants. An endodontist is responsible for performing root canals on patients.
Your endodontist can diagnose and treat any problems that arise inside the tooth, including the pulp, nerve, and tooth root. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon is responsible for removing wisdom teeth from the patient's mouth. An orthodontist is responsible for placing braces on children. Your child's pediatric dentist will refer you to an orthodontist if your child shows signs that he may need any type of orthodontic intervention.
If you're not sure what type of dentist you need to see, talk to your general dentist, as he or she can refer you to the right specialist based on your needs. Your primary care provider for your basic dental needs. General dentists diagnose and treat patients' general dental health. A dentist who specializes in braces and other dental appliances.
Orthodontists diagnose, prevent, and treat misalignment of teeth and surrounding structures. A cosmetic dentist specializes in improving patients' appearance and self-esteem through restorative treatments and operations. Prosthodontists repair natural teeth and replace missing teeth to a greater extent than a general dentist. To become a general dentist and earn a degree from an accredited dental school, it generally takes more than 3 years in undergraduate school plus 4 years of graduate school.
To become a specialist, additional years of graduate education are required. But did you know that there are dentists you can go to besides your general dentist who have received advanced training and specialize in specific areas of dentistry? In fact, the ADA now recognizes twelve different dental specialties. Here in British Columbia, dentists are regulated by the College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia (CDSBC), and different dental specialties must be certified by the CDSBC. Stony Plain Dental Center, a member of 123Dentist, one of the largest networks of dental offices wholly owned by dentists in Canada, has been serving the Stony Plain community in Alberta (Canada) since 1999.