What is a dental specialist?
Dentists who undergo further training after their initial dentistry degree are called specialists. Dental specialists restrict their practice to a specific area of dentistry. Your local dentist has had extensive training to be an “oral physician”. This training enables your dentist to treat you as a person and understand all your dental requirements. In most cases, your local dentist will be able to undertake most of your treatment needs. In some cases, he or she may elect to have the assistance of specialist dentists to ensure you receive the highest quality treatment. There are many forms of dental specialties, some of which are outlined below.
- Endodontists diagnose, treat and help to prevent diseases of the root canal (dental ‘nerve’) and its surrounding tissues;
- Oral/maxillofacial surgeons surgically treat injuries, abnormalities, and diseases of the tissues of the oral cavity and its adjacent parts and are called upon to remove difficult wisdom teeth and place dental implants.
- Orthodontists rearrange the natural teeth for functional and cosmetic reasons. They diagnose and treat wrongly-spaced, crooked, misplaced or prominent teeth in children or adults.
- Paediatric dentists deal with children’s oral health needs from birth to 18 years of age including those with special health care needs. Paediatric dentists focus on prevention and management of disease or growth disturbances in the infant, child or adolescent involving either the primary or permanent dentitions. Treatment under conscious sedation or general anaesthesia is an integral part of specialist practice.
- Periodontists treat gum diseases and are called upon to place dental implants.
- Prosthodontists undertake the advanced restorative treatment of teeth and surrounding tissues by artificial means (replacement of missing teeth and supporting structures e.g. dentures, crowns, bridges and implants).
- Oral Pathologists diagnose pathological conditions in the mouth.
- Dental Radiologists provide specialist diagnosis.of xrays.
Sometimes your dentist will refer you to a specialist for an expert opinion and/or treatment.