The majority of people see a general or family dentist for their oral care needs. But, when complex dental concerns arise, it may be necessary to see a dental specialist.
A specialty dentist focuses their services on one particular area of dentistry, providing related procedures each and every day. They are true experts in their field, equipped to handle more accurately any types of challenging cases or more complex patient needs.
Dental specialists include practitioners such as endodontists, orthodontists, oral surgeons and pediatric dentists (just to name a few.) In addition to 4 years of dental school, they have another 2 years of formal education and residency in their field of specialization. This equips them to handle more complex cases that are beyond the everyday scope of care inside of a traditional dental office.
Your dentist may refer you to a specialist if he or she feels like your individual needs require an additional level of experience with your particular situation. Although some of these treatments can be offered in a general dental office, the specialist would be able to work more efficiently since they are so accustomed to similar types of cases. It does not mean that your dentist doesn’t want to see you for your care; it simply means that your dentist wants the best possible care for your extra level of needs.
Some specialists can be seen without a referral from your general dentist. Others may request your primary dentist send any radiographs or records over prior to your appointment in order to fully understand your complex case needs. Call your specialist today to find out more about your first visit.
Posted on behalf of:
Linda King, DDS MAGD
4146 Georgia 42
Locust Grove, GA 30248
Becoming a dentist requires years of dedicated study followed by a rigorous licensing examination administered by a state licensing board. In order to apply for a license to practice dentistry, the applicant must have first graduated from an accredited dental school. A licensed dentist can practice general dentistry or, with additional training, they can practice in one of nine recognized specialty practice areas.
Most dental schools require that applicants have at least a bachelor’s degree and have completed certain science courses during their undergraduate education. These courses typically include biology, chemistry, and other science courses. The application process is highly competitive and only applicants with good scores on the Dental Acceptance Test and high grade point averages in their undergraduate work are likely to be accepted into dental school.
Dental school is four years long with a combination of classroom work and clinical practice under the supervision of a licensed dentist. Upon graduation, the student earns a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDM) degree. The same education is required for both of these degrees. An additional two to four years of education and a residency is required for those who wish to practice in one of the specialty areas.
Specialty areas include oral surgeons whose practice may include wisdom teeth removal and surgical placement of dental implants, pediatric dentists who specialize in children, endodontists who are specially trained in root canal procedures. Orthodontists focus on correction of irregular bites and straightening crooked teeth, periodontists who treat gum disease, oral pathologists who diagnose and treat diseases of the mouth, teeth and gums.
Do you know the difference between an orthodontist and a pedodontist? If you need to make an appointment for dental care, you will need to know what the different dental specialties are. Here are a few dental specialties that you are most likely to need. Many dentists and dental practices work in more than one of these areas.
A general dentist or family dentist is a family practitioner that you are probably most familiar with. These dentists provide general dental care such as dental cleanings and checkups, routine examinations, preventative dental care, fillings, crowns, and caps. They may also offer other services such as teeth whitening.
Orthodontists use braces and other methods to straighten teeth. Not only do straight teeth give you a pleasant smile, but they are also important for your oral and overall health.
Endodontists deal with treating diseases and decay in the soft tissue and pulp of your teeth. If you need a root canal, you may be referred to an endodontist for treatment. Endodontists can also replace teeth which have been knocked out.
Oral surgeons specialize in surgery of the mouth. They remove wisdom teeth, treat TMJ and other disorders of the jaw, remove oral cancers, and place dental implants.
A pedodontist is also known as a pediatric dentist. They specialize in dental care for children and primarily do preventative dental care.
Cosmetic dentists focus their practice on enhancing the appearance of your teeth. They may provide teeth whiting, caps, veneers, dental implants, and bonding.
A sleep and sedation dentist specializes in treating patients while under partial or full anesthesia. This type of dentistry is primarily intended for patients who cannot tolerate traditional dentistry treatment such as special needs patients and those with severe dental anxiety.
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