If it's been a while since you saw the dentist or you have untreated dental problems, it's obviously time to make a dental appointment. However, there are different dental specialties and your standard dentist also offers many treatments. That means that it's often challenging to choose the most appropriate dental professional. Fortunately, the below guide makes it easier to make that determination.
When Should You See Your Regular Dentist?
The modern dentist does much more than cleanings, extractions and root canals. Professional whitening, crowns and bridges are commonly provided as well. Essentially, you should plan to see your regular dentist for fillings and other common dental procedures.
If a major concern with your teeth, gums or jaw occurs, you'll probably be referred to a specialist. Some procedures, like root canals and crowns, can be done by a dentist or a by a specialist. In that instance, it may be up to you to decide if you want to see someone who does a myriad of dental work besides root canals; or if you would be more comfortable with someone who focuses on root canals and similar concerns.
Why Should You See An Endodontist?
Many complex or surgical treatments are not provided by your regular dentist. As mentioned previously, your dentist can often perform a root canal, but your endodontist probably does them more often. That experience can be beneficial for deep dental roots or severely infected teeth.
Your endodontist may intervene when one or more of your teeth is severely infected or painful. Untreated cavities will spread through the tooth and eventually impact the pulp. At that point, severe pain is probable and infection is a concern.
Root canals involve going through the enamel to remove the pulp, which holds the nerves and blood vessels. The empty space is filled with a safe, natural type of dental rubber. If the tooth cannot permanently support itself and the dental repairs, a metal post secures the tooth to the gums.
A temporary filling goes over the tooth, to be removed when the customized crown replaces it. Once you understand the complexities of a root canal, it makes sense why many patients want an endodontist to do the work, as opposed to a regular dentist who also does many other procedures every day.
Who Needs A Periodontist?
The periodontist works on the tissue and bone around your teeth. For example, if you suffer from periodontal disease, which is also known as periodontitis, you will typically have inflamed, painful and swollen gums. Periodontitis is the severest form of gum disease and as such, is a serious problem.
Periodontitis is the most common cause of tooth loss in adults in the United States. Affected gums lose their strength and eventually can no longer support the teeth. You cannot expect to have healthy, intact teeth if you have untreated periodontitis.
The good news is that a periodontist, such as at Cumberland Periodontal Associate, can prevent, treat and diagnose periodontal disease through surgical intervention and repair procedures. If you have already lost one or more teeth from the disease, you may want to consider dental implants.
Common treatments provided by your periodontist include:
Cleaning of the infected surface of the dental root (Scaling and Root Planing)
Removal of damaged tissue (Surface debridement))
Cosmetic dentistry (for damaged teeth, after the Periodontitis has been remedied)
In conclusion, appropriate dental care is essential to good health. Whether you need fillings, root canals, dental implants or gum surgery, immediate treatment of the problem is crucial. Choosing the right dental care professional is an important part of having a healthy smile.