Beyond the basic cleaning lies a dental specialist. Here are some common dental specialists and what they do:
- An endodontist is essentially a dental specialist for root canals. 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. Be sure to check your benefits to know your coverage.
Take these next steps after you’re referred to a dental specialist:
- Research the specialist(s) your dentist referred.
- Ensure s/he is a participating dentist in your insurance’s network.
- Make your appointment!