Here’s why you need to know your dental specialists
American patriot Paul Revere is best known for his midnight ride, immortalized in the poem by Longfellow. He’s less remembered for his trade as a silversmith or for his foray into the world of revolution-era dentistry. After studying with a dental surgeon, Revere even placed a dental prosthetic piece for Joseph Warren, the man who sent him on his midnight ride, and later used that prosthetic to identify Warren’s fallen body at the Battle of Bunker Hill.Paul Revere’s diversified dental profession was not a historical anomaly. In medieval Europe there was a common profession known as the barber surgeon, and it was exactly what it sounds like. The person cutting your hair was considered eligible to perform surgery, amputations, leeching, and dental work. In fact, the iconic red-and-white barber’s pole you see outside barber shops today was originally designed to represent a bloody white rag from surgery or bloodletting.Nowadays you probably wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) trust your hairdresser to place a dental implant. You might, however, trust a general dentist to do it. While a dentist is much more qualified to perform your dental surgery than a barber or silversmith, it’s possible that a different dental specialist will have the skills and training to better fix your specialized dental problems. Modern dentistry has evolved into very specialized fields, and when you’re seeking the best dental care it is important to know the difference.Here’s an overview of all the dental specialists you might need to visit someday:
Your general dentist meets most of the dental needs in your lifetime. Every six months you should be visiting your general dentist for regular teeth cleanings. The general dentist will also provide home maintenance tips, identify potential health issues, recommend appropriate specialists, and perform restorations. A general dentist will be a DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) or a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery), and he or she might have some additional certifications.
Pediatric dentists focus on the oral health of children and infants. They complete dental school just like a general dentist but also complete child-specific dental training. A parent should bring a baby to the pediatric dentist when it is six months old, even before teeth have grown in. As the child grows up, the pediatric dentist will help maintain their oral health, counsel the family in dealing with thumb-sucking or other oral habits, and identifying orthodontic problems early.
An orthodontist specializes in straightening crooked teeth and correcting misaligned jaws. Orthodontic treatments commonly involve braces or invisible aligners. Since more than four million Americans wear braces, odds are good that you’ve already had to see an orthodontist, and a quarter of the people who wear braces today are adults. In summary, an orthodontist is a dental doctor with additional training in orthodontics.
Endodontists specialize in root canals, so they most likely aren't people's favorite specialist to visit. If you go to your general dentist with tooth pain, it is likely they will refer you to an endodontist. They perform treatments related to the pulp of a tooth, repair broken teeth, and treat other dental trauma. Endodontists complete extensive endodontic training after dental school.
A periodontist cares for your teeth’s supporting tissues, including the gingiva or gums. He or she will prevent and treat gum disease and other periodontal issues. They can also improve some aesthetic considerations of your smile with laser treatments or gum grafting. Periodontists undergo specialized training to keep you free of periodontal disease.
Essentially, a prosthodontist replaces lost teeth. They create dental restorations, which consist of veneers, single crowns, bridges, dentures, or full arch restorations like the All-on-4. He or she will often work with a general dentist, oral surgeon, or other specialist to complete a restoration, but prosthodontists can also place dental implants themselves. Prosthodontists treat highly complicated dental problems and restore a beautiful smile.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons like Dr. Krakora treat problems related to the head, neck, face, jaw and mouth. This can include TMJ disorders, cosmetic surgery, wisdom teeth extractions, and other kinds of dental restorations. In our office, Dr. Krakora performs a lot of different procedures: all-on-4, dental implants, wisdom teeth, bone grafting, impacted canines, facial trauma, jaw surgery, TMJ disorder, and cleft lip and palate. As a board certified medical doctor (MD) and doctor of dental medicine (DMD), Dr. Krakora has the most advanced experience and training in his field.Now that you know the different types of dental specialists, you can make sure you’re seeing the right doctor for your dental trouble. Sadly, barber surgeon is no longer a viable specialization, so don’t ask your dentist to cut your hair.Featured Image Source: History.com