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Types of Specialized Dentists and What They Do

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Staying healthy involves taking care of your teeth. But the process of good oral hygiene requires more than brushing your teeth and flossing every day. Visiting your dentist is an important part of the process and ensures your teeth and gums stay as healthy as possible.

Everyone has different needs when they visit dental health professionals. Some are looking for routine cleanings, while others want their teeth straightened. Many people need more extensive care like root canals or implants. When you have specialized needs for your oral health, you need the help of a dental specialist who has received training in the specific area that you're looking for.

What Is a Dental Specialist?

When you visit your dentist, you see someone who has specialized training in a specific area in the field of dentistry. In other words, various types of dentists exist. Each kind provides different services that people may need on their oral health journey.

Someone with inflamed gums will seek a dentist who specializes in gum care. A patient who lost a tooth in a sports game will need another type of dentist to save their smile. It all comes down to what you need. Once you've determined what kind of oral care you want, you can more accurately find the right type of dental specialist to solve your issue.

List of Dental Specialists

Here are the different types of specialized dentists and what they do.

General Dentists

When you think of a dentist, you probably envision a general dentist. General dentists provide patients with routine dental exams and regular teeth cleanings. They're often the first type of dentist you interact with. General dentists can identify if you need more complex work done, and their training allows them to accurately determine what type of dentist to recommend to complete that work.

General dentistry is among the most common types of dentistry. This is because every dental school graduate can practice general dentistry, leading to 80% of graduates going into the field. After completing specific training, a dentist can shift their focus to a more specific type of oral care.

Pediatric Dentists

Pediatric dentists specialize in providing children and adolescents the dental care they need. Young mouths are still growing, losing baby teeth and gaining adult teeth. The special training pediatric dentists receive makes them the best choice for caring for a young person's dental needs.

Many children have anxiety about going to the dentist. Pediatric dentists spend a lot of time training for these exact moments to help reduce a child's fears over the oral healthcare process. Pediatric dentists offer their patients some of the first preventative treatments they'll ever receive, which can help keep their teeth healthier into adulthood. They also specialize in treating patients with special needs.

Periodontists

Periodontists focus their skills and knowledge on treating their patients' gums. Gums can develop various problems and diseases without proper oral care, and a periodontist can help reduce the issues or even fix the situation. In short, periodontists specialize in the treatment and care of the soft tissues that surround your teeth.


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It's important to distinguish between the types of gum treatment general dentists and periodontists provide. General dentists can help with gum disease prevention, but only a periodontist can provide treatment for damaged gum tissue and problems caused by progressive gum disease.

Prosthodontists

When you want to restore a missing tooth or repair a damaged or decayed tooth, your general dentist will recommend that you see a prosthodontist. Prosthodontists specialize in dental restorations to help restore your smile or prevent more tooth damage from occurring. They can also treat various jaw bone issues and restore the use of your mouth if you lose a section of your jaw to an accident or other cause.

Prosthodontists fall under the umbrella of "cosmetic dentistry," which serves patients who want to feel more confident in the appearance of their teeth. This branch of dentistry includes services like the following:

            Teeth whitening 

            Veneers 

            Bridges 

            Crowns 

            Partial or full dentures 

            Dental implants 

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

These surgeons specialize in the treatment of various oral diseases of the jaw and teeth. They receive extensive training to perform critical surgeries for the health of their patients. Most of their expertise causes them to work closely with ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialists.

When a situation calls for surgery to preserve the appearance and function of the teeth and jaws, oral and maxillofacial surgeons are the answer. Here are some of the scenarios that could lead to the need for this type of specialized dentist:

            Trauma

            Injury 

            Deformities 

            Cavities 

            Periodontal issues 

            Tooth loss 

Endodontists

The inside of your teeth consists of soft tissue, nerves and blood vessels called "dental pulp" that surround the root of your teeth. Endodontists specialize in the care and treatment of this critical component of your dental health. One of their most common services is providing root canals. General dentists will occasionally perform a root canal, but endodontists perform root canals regularly. 

When endodontists perform a root canal, they remove the inflamed or dying pulp from inside your tooth. This step spares the healthy parts of your tooth from further decay. They'll then repair the damaged tooth for proper healing and top it with a crown to restore it to its previous appearance.

Orthodontists

Orthodontists specialize in teeth and jaw alignment. Patients with crooked teeth or misaligned jaws will go to orthodontists to receive special treatments that include braces, aligners, palate expanders, retainers and other devices to achieve their desired results. 

Orthodontic services are for more than aesthetics. Orthodontists can enhance their patients' long-term dental health and can help people eat and even speak better than they did before treatment. Orthodontists fix overbites, underbites and other jaw issues that can lead to pain, increasing their patients' quality of life. 

Contact Specialized Dentistry of New Jersey for Specialized Dental Treatment

The team at Specialized Dentistry of New Jersey (SDNJ) is ready to provide you with high-quality, specialized services in the Manalapan, New Jersey area. Our dentists are highly rated and include some of the best in the state. We're excited and eager to give you an excellent dental experience to help you achieve greater oral hygiene for years to come. 

We hope you'll choose our specialized dentists for your needs. We invite you to contact us today for more information or to request an appointment. We look forward to serving you!


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