When it comes to oral health professionals, there are a lot of different types of specialists out there. For the average patient, it can be confusing to figure out what type of oral care professional they actually need. For those who are confused about what these dental specialists do, here’s a closer look into the world of oral health professionals!
An orthodontist is probably the most easily recognized type of dental professional besides a dentist. Orthodontists are dentists who receive additional training to learn how to straighten the teeth and correct the bite using orthodontic devices, such as braces, expanders and retainers. Many dentists offer orthodontic services, but most orthodontists do not offer dental cleanings and exams.
An endodontist is a dental professional most people really don’t want to have to see. The endodontist specializes in what is considered one of the scariest dental procedures: the root canal. Thankfully, a root canal sounds a lot scarier than it really is; in fact, it’s not scary at all, especially at the hands of a skilled dentist or endodontist. Endodontists are truly experts in root canals, receiving years of additional training just on that one procedure.
A periodontist specializes in the care and treatment of the gums. If you are diagnosed by your dentist with periodontal disease or another gum infection, you may be referred to a periodontist for further treatment. A periodontist may also treat gum recession and perform gum-grafting surgical procedures.
A prosthodontist specializes in treating dental and facial problems that result from missing teeth. Prosthodontists receive an additional three years of dental training beyond dental school. Prosthodontists specialize in dental implants, dentures, crowns, bridges and any other prosthetic teeth that help restore the shape of the face and the function of the teeth and mouth.
A maxillofacial surgeon works with the soft tissues of the face and jaw, including the gums, lips, cheeks and other surrounding muscle and tissue. Maxillofacial surgeons can perform a variety of dental surgeries, including tooth extraction and cleft palate procedures. Here’s an interesting fact: Maxillofacial surgeons are the only medical professionals who can provide every possible level of sedation besides actual anesthesiologists!
Dentists provide cleanings, dental exams and even minor surgical procedures. Hopefully your dentist is the only dental professional you will ever need, but if you’re concerned about any dental issues, your dentist is a great first stop to have it checked out. If your dentist can’t cover it, she will refer you to a qualified specialist who can.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Lesko for a cleaning or for any other concerns you may have, please call 970-812-0355.