Dental specialists are dentists who have completed additional education and training in a specific area of dentistry. There are many different types of dental specialists, each with their own area of expertise. Your dentist may refer you to a specialist if they determine that you need treatment that falls outside of their scope of practice. In this blog post, we will discuss the different types of dental specialists and when your dentist may refer you to one!
Types of Dental Specialists
There are many different types of dental specialists, each with their own area of expertise. Some of the most common types of dental specialists include:
Endodontists specialize in treating problems with the soft tissue inside the teeth, including the pulp and root canals. They may be referred to if you have an infection or injury to the soft tissue inside your teeth. Endodontists are also trained in performing root canals, which is a procedure that removes infected and dead pulp from the tooth’s center so it can be sealed off before being filled with dental material such as amalgam or composite resin.
Orthodontists specialize in straightening teeth and correcting bite problems using orthodontic appliances such as metal braces, clear aligners, and others. They are often referred to when patients have an overbite or misaligned teeth that need correction! Some general dentists provide Invisalign® treatment for mild cases, however orthodontists are usually needed for more severe cases.
Periodontists focus on the gums, jawbone, and tissues surrounding the teeth. They treat gum disease by performing dental cleanings, scaling, and root planing. Periodontists are also trained to perform surgical procedures such as gum grafts and bone augmentation if needed!
Prosthodontists specialize in replacing or restoring teeth that have been damaged due to decay, disease, injury, or trauma. They are essentially specialists in dental restorations and may be referred to when a patient needs a dental implant, partial denture, or full denture.
Pediatric dentists specialize in treating children’s teeth. They perform routine dental exams and treatments such as fillings, extractions, and fluoride applications. Pediatric dentists may also refer patients to an orthodontist if they need braces! Although a general dentist can perform the same services, some children do better with a pediatric dentist since they are specifically trained to work with children.
When Your Dentist May Refer You to a Specialist
Your dentist may refer you to a specialist if they determine that you need treatment that falls outside of their scope of practice. In most cases, your dentist will be able to provide you with treatment in their office. However, some of the most common reasons your dentist may refer you to a specialist include:
- You have a severe infection or injury to the soft tissue inside your teeth
- You have a severe overbite or misaligned teeth that need correction
- You have severe gum disease and require surgical procedures like gum grafts and bone augmentation
- You are missing teeth and need a dental implant, partial denture, full denture, or other special dental restoration
- Your child needs dental treatment such as fillings, extractions, fluoride applications or orthodontic care, and they need someone who can relate to them differently
There are many different types of dental specialists, each with their own area of expertise. If you find yourself in need of treatment that falls outside your general dentist’s scope of practice, they may refer you to a specialist! In this blog post, we have discussed the different types of dental specialists and when your dentist may refer you to one. Keep in mind that most dentists are able to provide routine services such as fillings and extractions, but some cases may require specialized care that can only be provided by a specialist.
Dr. Alina Huang has been practicing dentistry in Manhattan for the last eight years. She was born in New York City, and raised in California where she received her Bachelor’s degree at UCLA, and her D.D.S. at the University of the Pacific in San Francisco. She then made her return to NYC where she completed her General Practice Residency at Montefiore Medical Center and has been working in private practice ever since. She continues her learning by attending courses to stay current with the latest advancements in dentistry and refine her skills.