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.