In most cases, your general dentist can perform the same procedures that a specialist does. This includes a wide range of services, from tooth extraction to cosmetic and restorative treatments. However, there may be times when your general dentist will refer you to a specialist due to the complexity of the procedure, the patient's health, or because you believe that your procedure requires a provider with additional, specialized training. It is important to consult with your general dentist and, if necessary, with your referring specialist.
Your general dentist is the primary provider of dental care and can diagnose and treat dental problems such as periodontal treatment, root canal treatment, tooth extractions, dental crowns, bridges, white fillings, and veneers. The type of specialist you should go to depends on your condition. Below are the different types of dental specialists and their fields of expertise: Endodontist - specializes in root canal treatments; Oral Surgeon - specializes in tooth extractions and other surgical procedures; Periodontist - specializes in gum disease treatments; Prosthodontist - specializes in prosthetic dentistry such as dentures and bridges; Orthodontist - specializes in braces and other orthodontic treatments; Pediatric Dentist - specializes in treating children's teeth; and Cosmetic Dentist - specializes in cosmetic treatments such as teeth whitening and veneers. To help you decide on treatment, your dentist should describe in detail the condition of your mouth and all treatment options, including those that might cost less. If your dentist recommends extensive treatment, seek a second opinion.
If you suspect that your dentist is trying to sell you more about a dental treatment or procedure, seek a second opinion. Another dentist's analysis of your mouth may yield different results. Don't hesitate to get a second opinion. The bottom line is that you probably don't need treatment right away unless you're in extreme pain. So take some time to do some research and make a well-informed decision that will benefit your oral health for years to come without ruining your budget.