When it comes to dental care, general dentistry is the first port of call for many people. This is the person you go to for regular checkups and for any general questions or concerns about your teeth. General dentists provide exams, cleanings, whitening, fillings, and repair work. If the problem is more complex, they will refer you to a specialist. Specialized dental providers also offer general dentistry services.
This gives you the advantage of having an established relationship with your doctor when you need more specialized work. Orthodontists are the second most common type of dentist for many Americans. The word 'orthodontist' comes from the Greek word meaning 'straight', and they specialize in straightening teeth using modern methods. Orthodontics is often associated with preteens and teens, but adults can also benefit from it. Adults may not have had corrective orthodontics when they were younger, or their teeth may have become misaligned over time.
Orthodontists can also treat chronic conditions such as TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder).Endodontists are usually associated with root canals, which have a bad reputation but are actually important for saving teeth. Endodontists specialize in the inner layers of the teeth, mainly the pulp in the center. The pulp is what keeps the tooth healthy and connects it to the body through blood vessels and nerves. Diseases or damage to the pulp can permanently damage or kill a tooth. Prosthodontists are responsible for making your smile look and feel better.
If you have broken, damaged, or missing teeth, a prosthodontist can rebuild them with replacement material. They can design custom dental prostheses such as bridges, crowns, veneers, and dentures. Some prosthodontists also repair damage to the jaw or face. Periodontists treat gum disease or periodontitis with physical remedies such as scraping or smoothing. In more urgent cases, they may perform surgery to treat infected or damaged teeth.
Oral surgeons specialize in surgery on the jaw and gums to repair serious damage, birth defects, or treat cancerous tumors. They may also be called upon to extract a particularly complex tooth. Dental specialists are dentists who receive additional training in a specific dental specialty beyond their general dentistry degree. Pediatric dentists are specially trained to address the specific needs and oral health of children and adolescents, such as fluoride treatments and dental sealants. The dental specialty team coordinates your care with doctors from other specialties if necessary.