Even though family dentists are able to perform the majority of dental procedures a patient might need, sometimes a specialist is required
In order to oversee the overall dental care of patients, general or family dentists offer a number or services, including check-ups and exams, x-rays, hygienist services, preventive treatments, fillings and restorative dental work.
Some clinics are able to refer patients to one or more dental specialists within their medical centres, whereas others choose to use other clinic’s resources to take care of those patients in need of a specialized dentist in root canals, tooth extractions, orthodontics or gum disease treatments, for instance.
Among the dentist practices that require a more specific training, there are seven major specialists to consider:
Cosmetic dentist. Even though they don’t require further training than that received by general dentists, cosmetic dentists specialise and perfect their technique in performing all those dental procedures aimed at improving the appearance of a patient’s smile. Among these treatments they specialise mainly in teeth colour restorations, dental colouring, dental bounding and porcelain veneers.
Endodontist. A part from having attended to dental school, endodontists receive an additional two years specialized training in the treatment of problems arising in a tooth’s nerve and the surrounding tissues of its root. They perform root canal treatments to patients with such conditions.
Orthodontist. Graduates from dental school with an extra two years training in orthodontics, they specialize in correcting tooth misalignment and malocclusion through the use of braces, retainers and other therapeutic devices, in order to straighten teeth and bring the dentition into the correct position.
Prosthodontist. They graduate from dental school and receive additional training in prosthodontics to replace missing teeth with the use of dentures, implants, bridges and crowns. They often perform full-mouth reconstructions to solve several consequences of tooth loss in patients.
Pedodontist. A part from graduating from dental school, they receive training in children’s dental health. They are general dentists who specialize in the dental treatment and care of children.
Periodontist. They attend dental school before receiving two to three years additional training in gum disease treatment. They use both surgical and non-surgical procedures to treat gum disease.
Oral surgeon. Graduates either from dental or medical school, oral surgeons attend to an additional training program in oral and maxillofacial surgery. They specialize in tooth extraction, placing of dental implants and facial reconstruction, a part from frequently handling emergency and trauma situations.
Some of the services and treatments offered by these professionals can also be performed by general dentists; however they choose to refer patients to specialists when further training is required to perform certain treatments.
In case of needing an specialist, general dentists advise and refer patients to specially trained doctors on their behalf