The world of dentistry is one that is not short on detail and complication. The various tissues, areas and parts of our mouth make for a long list of things to master in attempting to offer the best medical care possible. With this in mind, it should surprise few that the world of dentistry offers a wide range of specializations. Today’s post is our attempt at putting these specializations into layman’s terminology to ensure that everyone can understand the differences as well as what type of specialist they may need to see. With that, let’s get into the specializations.
I know what you’re thinking…this one should be at the End of the list. Beyond that badly placed joke, these medical professionals are specialists in the area of endodontics, the treatment and study of dental pulp. What is dental pulp you ask? It is the collection of nerves and living connective tissue at the heart of each tooth. It keeps the tooth ‘living’ by providing surrounding tissue with moisture and nutrients.
The most common procedure relating to the dental pulp is that of a root canal. Root canals involve the removal of infected or damaged pulp within a tooth that is subsequently disinfected and filled. The fancy name for root canals is endodontic therapy, which as the name implies is an endodontist’s speciality. They also perform surgical procedures involving cracked teeth or trauma in which the dental pulp is compromised.
This is by far our largest title on this list. More commonly and easily known as ‘Oral Surgeons’, these specialists perform a plethora of dental surgical procedures including wisdom teeth extractions and the placement of dental implants. They are also responsible for procedures that impact the overall mouth, jaw, face, neck and head area. Procedures that require oral surgeons include but are not limited to sinus lifts, cosmetic facial surgery, cleft lip and palette procedures and oral and neck cancer procedures.
Members of this specialization earn their hefty title thanks to the breadth and difficulty of procedures they are capable of doing.
Pediatric dentists are those who specialize in the treatment of children’s teeth and related issues from birth to adolescence. As these are often the first dental professional our children come into contact with they often serve as a source of education in teaching strong oral health habits to children and parents alike. Their offices usually feature the best toys and choicest DVDs should you enjoy your fair share of Dora the Explorer.
Periodontist specialize in the supporting structures and tissues that surround teeth including gums, bone structure and periodontal ligament. The work these specialists do is invaluable, as they are the go to source for any disease and conditions that pertain to the gums an area that impacts the overall health of your mouth and body. These specialists are the best versed in dental implant procedures as well as treatment for bone loss and tooth loss caused by gingivitis and the like.
Prosthodontists deal primarily with conditions caused by missing and deficient teeth as well as issues in surrounding tissue. Their work includes things that pertain to the diagnosis, treatment and maintenance of good oral health in cases of cosmetic restoration of teeth and surrounding tissues as well as issues involving bites and the jaw.
Perhaps the most commonly known of all specialists in the dental field, orthodontists are most commonly associated with braces and head gear. These popular specialists are experts in the field of improper bites, most commonly cases caused by irregular teeth and issues with the jaw. Their treatment varies on a case by case basis with adolescents and adults alike being treated over time. Their work is far from entirely cosmetic as fixing teeth that aren’t straight can lead to pain relief and proper oral function as well.
We hope that you know have a better understanding and appreciation of the various dental specialists that exist here in Canada. This should help you in determining the type of treatment and specialist you may need.