It is sometimes confusing to know what kind of dentist you and your family might need when there are so many different kinds. There are family practice general dentists, pediatric dentists, orthodontists, oral surgeons, endodontists, and prosthodontists. Why so many and where do I need to go? What do they all do? Who can help? Let’s talk about it.
With so many types of dentists to help take care of you and your families needs where does on start? The best place to start is with your family dentist. As in medicine, getting established with a primary care provider is essential in navigating the process of complete dental care. Your family dentist can do a complete evaluation of your dental needs and either do the necessary treatment themselves or refer you to a specialist.
Dentistry differs from medicine in a very important way. General dentists are allowed to perform any treatment they feel they are capable of doing as opposed to physicians who are required by law to only provide the care of their special training. This has allowed dental care to remain much more affordable than medical care but, knowing this, there are things to consider. A general dentist, who performs the work of specialists, is held to the same level of care as the specialists. Many general dentists have had additional training thru continuing education and feel comfortable with many different kinds of procedures.
If your family dentist does not feel comfortable treating a particular situation they have the option of referring you to a specialist for help. For a child they may refer you to a pediatric dentist For orthodontics an orthodontist. For extraction of teeth or an evaluation of a pathological situation or implant placement an oral surgeon may be needed. If a tooth needs a root canal an endodontist may be needed. If a situation requires the replacement of teeth with either crown and bridge work or a denture or partial or implants or a combination, a prosthodontists may be of help.
There are many kinds of specialists that can be of help with your treatment but it best to have your family dentist coordinate things. They know you and your family’s dental needs and can help make sure the appropriate specialists are called in when needed. If you have any questions at all, we are always happy to talk to our patients – give us a call anytime.