Your mouth, teeth, and gums require regular hygiene and medical attention, just like every other part of your body. Having a good general dentist is important, as he or she can perform your annual checkups and address the routine matters associated with keeping your teeth healthy and clean. However, just as there are specialized areas of other medical professions, there are specialists in the field of dental medicine whom you may need to turn to under certain circumstances. The following is a list of the different kinds of dental professionals you may encounter:
If you have been seen by an orthodontist before, chances are good it was as an adolescent as you were being fitted for braces. More generally, an orthodontist is a specialist in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of malocclusions, commonly known as underbites and overbites. While they often work with young people as their teeth grow in, it’s not uncommon for adults to seek out their services as well, to correct the health and cosmetic issues associated with crooked or misaligned teeth.
Chances are you don’t think much about what goes on inside your teeth until you experience a sudden and painful toothache. An endodontist specializes in the study and treatment of the tissue and nerves in the center of the tooth, known as dental pulp. The most common procedure they perform are root canals, although you may also have to see one if you have suffered an injury that has damaged your teeth.
Your mouth is made up of more than just your teeth. A periodontist specializes in both the gums as well as the bones in your face and jaw. Gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums, and periodontitis, an inflammation of the tissue around the teeth, are two of the most common conditions treated by a periodontist. You may also see one if you are being fitted for dental implants.
As any parent can attest, it can be quite the ordeal to get children to go for their dental appointments. So, too, can a pediatric dentist, one who specializes in children’s oral health. The field of pedodontics focuses on teeth as they develop into their adult iterations, and seeks to identify potential problem areas so preventive measures can be taken. Additionally, pedodontists must also study child behavior so as to be specially attuned to the needs of their young patients. Children as young as one year can see these dental professionals, although experts recommend arranging for the child’s appointment within six months of the first tooth growing in.
Oral health care is a multi-faceted field, and a complete understanding of it requires input from experts in many different areas. Your general dentist will be able to direct you to the specialist you need in the event that you develop a condition that requires added expertise.