Seeing a Dental Specialist 101

If you ever need much more than a basic exam and cleaning, chances are good that your general dentist will refer you to a dental specialist.

dental specialist

A rundown of the most common specialists in the dental world.

Here are some common dental specialists and what they do: 

  • An endodontist is essentially a dental specialist for root canal They treat diseases and injuries of the dental pulp or the tooth nerves. After dental school, they have 2 or more years of endodontics training. On average, endodontists perform nearly 25 root canal treatments a week, while general dentists perform less than 2.
  • Do you need oral surgery? Then you’ll be seeing an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. They treat patients for wisdom teeth removals, jaw tumors and facial injuries. Oral surgeons are trained in a hospital-based residency program for a minimum of 4 years.
  • If you have a bad bite, you’ll be referred to an orthodontist. This specialist straightens teeth with the use of bands, wires, braces and other corrective appliances.
  • If you were referred to a periodontist, gum surgery may be in your future. They specialize in treating your gums and the supporting bones–your teeth.

Are you anxious your dentist will give you the dreaded referral slip at your next appointment? Don’t worry—your dental benefits work with specialists too, but depending on the type of procedure that’s recommended, you may need a pre-treatment estimate.

Take these next steps after you’re referred to a dental specialist:

  1. Research the specialist(s) you’re dentist referred.
  2. Ensure s/he is a participating dentist in your insurance’s network.
  3. Make your appointment!

Looking for a dental specialist? Use our provider search tool to find a dental specialist in the Delta Dental network.


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