Q and A for Your Dentist

174247392Dentistry is an interesting field. Many may not know that sedation dentistry offers a means for the most fearful who delay dental care to visit their dentist in total relaxation with the assistance of sedation aids. Many may not realize that there may be over 100 decisions that a dentist makes when evaluating the proper materials, fit, feel and look for tooth restorations, such as, a dental crown. The magnificence in dentistry today is that you have the opportunity to preserve the health of your oral cavity and to enhance the appearance of your teeth for a beautiful well-aligned smile when selecting the right dentist. So, it’s wise to learn more about the Q and A you’ll have in consultation with your dentist, the different types of dentists and how to make better informed decisions about dentistry.  First, your journey might begin with research.

  • Understand the difference between the types of dentists and technology access.
  • Learn about dentistry conditions and treatments.
  • View the Your Health Access listings, profile biographies and websites of leading dentists to be prepared to engage in consultation.

Your Dentistry Consultation

At your dentistry consultation, you might be surprised to see the many amenities and patient comforts offered by leading dentists. Before you arrive at your dentist’s office, you’ll want to feel comfortable with their background.  So, we invite you to learn about the different areas of focus and educational background in related dentistry areas.

There are a total of nine specialty areas in dentistry, including: Dentistry Public Health (initiatives and policy), Prosthodontics, (advanced sequential dental treatment) Periodontics (gum specialty), Endodontic (root canal and endodontic surgical focus), Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology (symptomatic pathways), Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology (interpretation and analysis), Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (face and jaw abnormalities), Orthodontics (teeth straightening),   and Pedodontics (children focus).

174362143 Advantages in Selecting the Right Dentist and Related Dental Treatments

General Dentist: A general dentist may hold one of two designations in the United States:  DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine). General dentists, also known as, family dentists, may receive additional training by participating in continuing education courses through dental organizations, such as, the American Dental Association, the Academy of General Dentistry or the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. These courses offer a means to keep up-to-date with the latest advancements in the field of dentistry. Typically,   general dentists offer comprehensive services for routine dental check-ups to screen for oral conditions, professional cleanings and provide restorative dental procedures.  In some cases, you may be referred to a more specialized dentist who has advanced technology and skill to treat oral conditions, such as, for tooth loss in which you may choose from a bridge, denture or dental implant (a more advanced solution for tooth loss). Your access to advanced technology in dental practices varies among general dentists.

Cosmetic Dentist: This is a term used to describe a dentist who is focusing on cosmetic dentistry techniques which may apply in both restorative and cosmetic dental procedures. The level of training, experience, and accessibility to advanced technology varies among cosmetic dentists. Many general dentists are interested in participating in continuing education courses to offer procedures that focus on the esthetic appearance and functionality of the oral cavity. A select number of cosmetic dentists have become members of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Even fewer dentists have become accredited members as this requires an extensive accreditation process over the course of years. Some of these dentists may be called sustaining members until they achieve accreditation. Still fewer cosmetic dentists are fellows of The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Some of the advanced cosmetic dentists may also bring other dental specialists into their practice or pursue additional education to provide a more comprehensive approach to dental treatment, such as, an Endodontist, Prosthodontist, Sedation Dentist, and/or Implantologist.   Generally, cosmetic dentists offer the same treatments as a general dentist. Their offerings may include:

  • Tooth Whitening for a bright white smile.
  • Tooth Colored Dental Fillings, known as, composite fillings, for dental cavities.
  • Inlays and Onlays, a sophisticated alternative to dental fillings.
  • Dental Bonding for small chips, gaps and cracks.
  • Dental Veneers for severe tooth discoloration and a well-aligned smile.
  • Dental Implants for tooth loss (in addition to dental bridges and dentures).
  • Sedation Dentistry and Patient Comforts to alleviate fear and pain associated with dentistry.
  • Biofilm treatment to control unhealthy biofilms in your mouth if you have gum disease.

Prosthodontist: Prosthodontics is a dental specialty that is recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA). In order to become a prosthodontist, dental school graduates must continue on with up to four more years of study in an ADA-approved program to offer the most advanced forms of sequencing dental treatment, as well as, an enhanced level of full mouth reconstruction and implantology. Prosthodontists are known for having some of the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools available to offer advanced esthetics and functionality for your smile, such as, microscopes, digital imaging and ultrasonic technology.  Prosthodontists offer a highly sophisticated approach for dental treatment in several areas, including:

  • Advanced dentures, bridges and dental implants for tooth loss
  • Full mouth reconstruction for outdated tooth restorations
  • Repair for failed outcomes in restorative treatment
  • Facial, jaw and bite abnormalities/trauma, including:  oral/maxillofacial area with complexities in teeth, gums, and bone structure.
  • Related disorders, such as, snoring disorders, TMJ, sleep apnea, and perhaps, oral cancer reconstruction.

Endodontist: An Endodontist is a dental professional who has completed four years of training at an accredited dental school and at least two years of advanced endodontic training in an ADA accredited postdoctoral program. An Endodontist must demonstrate excellence in identifying oral conditions, developing successful treatment plans, and treating oral conditions in the realm of endodontics.  A select number of Endodontists may choose to become diplomates in the American Board of Endodontics following completion of requirements and acceptance.. General dentists and cosmetic dentists may be part of a practice that has an Endodontist or refer you to an Endodontist. You may contact their office directly if you require advanced treatments. Endodontists may have advanced technology for advantages in ease during treatment, safety and enhanced longevity in results.

  • Root canal treatment
  • Endodontic surgical treatments, such as, for cancer or issues with dental pulp and periradicular tissues

Periodontist: Periodontists have sophisticated expertise in underlying structures that support your teeth and treatment of periodontal disease. Following completion of an undergraduate degree and a graduate degree as a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Medical Dentistry (DMD), periodonists continue with up to seven years of additional training in an American Dental Association (ADA) accredited periodontology residency program. Every six years, periodonists must complete a recertifiatino program.  A select number of periodontists become board certified periodontists, known as diplomates of the American Board of Periodontology.  The types of dental procedure that periodontists may perform include:

  • Non-surgical and surgical gum disease treatment
  • Bone and tissue regeneration (for bone and tissue loss)
  • Gum pocket reduction (removing bacteria and reducing gum pockets due to gum disease)
  • Gingivectomy (excess tissue removal)
  • Gingival sculpting (lengthen appearance of teeth)
  • Soft tissue grafting (for receding gums)
  • Ridge augmentation (enhance artificial tooth appearance)

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It is important to recognize that all information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical/dental  diagnosis, medical/dental treatment, or medical/dental advice. As always, you should consult with a physician or dentist regarding any dental or medical condition.
Your Health Access disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.