When you need to have specialized medical attention for your body, your doctor often refers you to another doctor trained in the type of care you need, such as a cardiologist for your heart or neurologist for your brain.
Your oral health has the same kind of team consisting of trained professionals to treat your specialized dental needs.
Your dentist is like your primary care physician. A general practice dentist covers your basic dental care such as your bi-annual check-ups and maintenance care for your teeth. This can include cleaning your teeth, checking for cavities and gum disease, and preventative and diagnostic x-rays.
Your primary dentist can also perform some of the more invasive procedures such as a root canal, but may also refer you to a dentist that specializes in this kind of treatment.
Dental specialists include Endodontists, Periodontists, and Prosthodontists. Each type of dentist focuses on a specific part of your oral health.
What are the differences in these types of dentists?
Endodontists Treat the Inside of the Tooth
While your primary dentist takes care of the outside of your teeth, other specialized dentists can take care of other parts of your teeth. Your tooth has several layers, as explained by Colgate.com.
The white outside material is the enamel. Underneath the enamel is the dentin. Inside your tooth, underneath the enamel and dentin, is the pulp. This is a soft tissue found inside the root or pulp canal, and contains the tooth’s blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues.
An Endodontist is a specialist that focuses on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases and injuries to the inside of your teeth, the pulp.
Some of the procedures your Endodontist may perform can include more difficult root canal procedures, treatment of root damage from traumatic injury to the tooth, and other endodontic surgical procedures.
Periodontists Care for Your Gum Health
The health of your gums and jaw are an important part of your overall oral health. When there is a problem with either of these, your dentist may refer you to a Periodontist for specialized care.
A Periodontist is a dental specialist that focuses on the soft tissues and bones of your mouth. This includes your gums and also the supporting structures or bones connected to your teeth, such as your jaw.
Your Periodontist can diagnose and treat gum diseases such as gingivitis and also periodontitis, a gum and bone disease.
Some of the procedures a Periodontist may perform include simple and deep pocket cleanings, crown lengthening, hard and soft-tissue re-contouring, implant placement, and others types of techniques to restore your gums and other supporting structures of your mouth.
Prosthodontists Repair Lost or Damage teeth
If you lose or damage a tooth, your primary dentist might send you to a Prosthodontist. A Prosthodontist specializes in the repair or replacement of your natural teeth.
Some of the techniques a Prosthodontist might use to repair a tooth include cosmetic dentistry such as porcelain veneers and gold or ceramic crowns. To replace a tooth, a Prosthodontist may use devices such as a fixed bridge, dentures, or dental implants.
Some Prosthodontists that are specially trained are able to replace missing parts of the face and jaw with prosthetic devices. These are artificial replacement parts to fit into the existing structure of your face or jaw.
Ask Your Dentist if You Need a Specialist
Your primary dentist will often be the one that refers you to another dentist whose practice focuses on the part of your oral health that needs treatment. They can explain to you what the specialist does and any procedures that may be used to treat your specific condition.
Professional dental offices such as Kennewick Dental often work closely with, or have in their practice, a network of specialist dentists. For more information about what the different specialties are for an Endodontist, a Periodontist, and a Prosthodontist, contact Kennewick Dental. Our professionally-trained staff can offer further details about specialized dental procedures.