Your general dentist is just one of the many professionals who can help you maintain a healthy smile. There are a lot of “odontists” out there – from ones who help with appliances like braces to others who specialize in restorations. Here are a few of the most common specialized dentistry professionals:
- Endodontists are dentists who specialize in the soft inner tissue of the teeth, called the pulp. Infection of this area can cause tooth sensitivity and intense pain. Endodontists diagnose and treat infected roots and traumatic dental injuries, through procedures such as root canals and endondontic surgery.
- Orthodontists work to correct teeth and jaws that are positioned improperly by using braces, retainers, spacers, headgear and more. Crooked teeth are harder to keep clean and are more likely to be lost early due to tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. Crooked teeth are also misaligned, which can lead to speech problems, jaw pain, unhealthy gums and trouble biting or chewing. Orthodontists can help provide a healthier mouth, a more pleasing appearance and teeth that are more likely to last a lifetime.
- Periodontists A periodontist will specialize in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal (gum) disease. Periodontal diseases range from simple gum inflammation (gingivitis) to major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. Periodontic treatment includes scaling and root planing, gum grafts and dental implants.
- Prosthodontists are experts at restoring and/or replacing teeth. Prosthodontists use a variety of techniques such as crowns, bridges, full or partial dentures and dental implants to restore tooth appearance and function following loss or damage.
Although many general dentists provide a full range of specialty services, if you need treatment beyond what your primary care dentist can provide, he or she may refer you to one of these specialists.