Tag Archives: periodontist

Who is My Dentist Sending Me To?

By Tammy Green

When we choose a dentist, we want someone who makes us feel comfortable, is highly qualified, and is responsive to our needs. At Carolina Family Dentistry we pride ourselves on establishing trusting relationships with our patients and involving patients in their own dental care. You might be surprised, then, if your regular dentist refers you to someone else for treatment. This is where that trusting relationship comes in. Your dentist’s main concern is to provide you with the best professional care available in a caring and comfortable environment. With this in mind, they may refer you to a respected colleague who specializes in the treatment you need. 


Orthodontist and Dentofacial Orthopedics

These specialists do more than just apply braces. They specialize in facial irregularities and not only diagnose existing problems, but can prevent and intercept them before they become a problem. This can include crowded teeth, teeth that stick out, teeth that are too far apart, teeth that don’t meet up, and misaligned jaws. Stop feeling self-conscious about your smile!


Periodontist or Gum Specialist

A periodontist specializes in diagnosing, preventing, and treating periodontal disease (commonly known as gum disease). Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that not only affects the gums, but also the bone supporting the teeth. Left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases. Most cases of periodontal disease can be treated by a general dentist, but some cases require specialized care. 

Periodontists also specialize in placing dental implants. They are experts in both hard tissue (bones and teeth) and soft tissue (gums and cheeks) which means that they can handle more difficult procedures.  Other services they provide are scaling and root planing, debridement (removal of damaged root tissue), oral inflammation treatment, and cosmetic procedures.


Oral Pathologist or Maxillofacial Pathologist

 Oral and maxillofacial surgeons specialize in the underlying conditions, diseases, injuries, and defects that cause functional and esthetic problems in the mouth, teeth, jaw, and face. They provide a myriad of services that require anesthesia and surgery.



A prosthodontist specializes in the treatment of complex dental and facial issues, aesthetics, and disorders of the jaw. They are experts in restoring and replacing missing or damaged teeth with devices such as implants, crowns, bridges, and dentures. 



 Endodontists proudly refer to themselves as Specialists in Saving Teeth. They specialize in finding and treating oral and facial pain that has been difficult to diagnose. Their focus is on treating tooth pulp and performing root canals.  They are also experts in pain management and use specialized techniques to ensure that their patients are comfortable (even those patients who have a history of problems getting and staying numb). If you need a root canal, an endodontist is your new best friend!


It Won’t Just Go Away

Dental problems do not “just go away” on their own. See your dentist right away if you begin experiencing pain or tooth problems. Early treatment can help you avoid more significant problems later.

Referred to a Dental Specialist? What You Need to Know

As dentists, we handle a majority of your dental procedures. But sometimes, it is necessary to refer you to a dental specialist. A dental specialist is a dentist who has earned additional certifications that allow them to perform more specialized and complicated procedures. Like if you visit a primary care physician for problems with your ear, they may refer you to an ENT. Remember that there is no need to worry if you are directed to a specialist — they are here to help! Here are the five most common dental specialists and what they do. 


Photo by Alexander Dummer from Pexels

A Pedodontist specializes in children and adults with intellectual disabilities. A procedure that might be a breeze for an adult can be scary and complicated for a young child or a person with special needs. This is where Pedodontists step in and take over for a regular dentist. If your loved one with special needs requires intense dental work and needs to be sedated, your dentist will likely refer you to a Pedodontist.


Your dentist will likely refer you to a Periodontist if you have gum disease, or gingivitis, that has progressed. Gingivitis can progress to Periodontal disease if not treated properly. Your dentist may refer you to a Periodontist if your gums have reached this stage. A periodontist will perform deep cleanings necessary for those with advanced gum disease. In some cases, you’ll only need to see the Periodontist once or twice, but with more advanced cases, you’ll need a visit twice a year. 


Endodontists specialize in root canals. A root canal is needed if a cavity is left untreated, and the tooth root is affected by the decay. Note that not all root canals need to be treated by endodontists; some dentists will handle root canals. However, they may refer you to an Endodontist if they have reason to believe it will be too complicated for their skillset or challenging to access. 

Oral Surgeon 

Oral surgeons are responsible for performing extractions. Your dentist may perform extractions on his or her patients, but some refer extractions to an oral surgeon. It just depends on the level of experience of that particular dentist. If you’ve had your wisdom teeth removed, you’ve likely seen an oral surgeon. 


If you weren’t familiar with any of the dental specialists we’ve talked about so far, you probably have at least heard of orthodontists. An orthodontist is responsible for straightening their patient’s teeth over time, usually with braces. Clear aligners have become more popular, and we can help with those. But some cases of teeth straightening requires unique work or cannot be corrected with aligners. 

While an Orthodontist will take care of braces, you’ll still need to see your dentist for teeth check-ups and cleanings regularly. 

Questions about a specialist to whom you’ve been referred? Contact the Carolina Family Dentistry team