While the public often uses “versus/vs” when comparing the services of general and specialized dentistry, we want to state that this is by no means a competition. General dentists are essential to oral health care and we have longstanding relationships with amazing practitioners across Greater Vancouver, those who often refer us to their own patients when specialized treatments are required.
In fact, in Canada, a dentist can apply for certified specialist recognition after completing additional post-graduate training (between two to six years) in a specific field of dentistry and bypassing both an oral and written fellowship examination by the Royal College of Dentists of Canada (RCDC). In BC, the College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia governs the recognition of a certified specialist, while all are governed by the same ethical guidelines and professional regulations. But alas this does not answer your query about who you should see when it comes to your oral wellness. Today, we take a look at some key dental health concerns that demand you consult with a dental specialist as a complement/supplement to your family’s general dentist visits.
4 Oral Health Concerns That Call For You to Seek the Services of a Dental Specialist
1. You Want to Save Your Natural Teeth
Given that nearly 70 percent of adults aged 35 to 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth, you want to do all that you can to keep from contributing to this statistic. When it comes to saving decayed, damaged, and/or diseased teeth, only an endodontist can come to your aid.
Endodontics is the branch of specialized dentistry that is concerned with dental pulp and the tissues surrounding the roots of a tooth. Endodontists are experts in root canals and in apicoectomies. The latter procedure is especially relevant to this discussion, as on some occasions a root canal procedure alone cannot save your tooth, at which point an endodontist will recommend an apicoectomy. An apicoectomy is a procedure that requires an endodontist to open the gum tissue near the tooth to expose the underlying bone and remove inflamed and/or infected tissue. In some cases, an apicoectomy is required when an infection develops or persists after root canal treatment. The latter case can happen when a patient goes to a general dentist for a root canal because while general practitioners can perform simple root canals, you’re best served by an expert. Long story short, when it comes to getting a root canal to save your teeth, there is no better recourse that to seek the services of an endodontist.
Learn more about how a specialist can help you prevent tooth extraction.
2. You Don’t Want to Wear Dentures
For some of you, the time has passed to save your natural teeth and thus you need a solution that will restore your smile and oral function in the best way possible. Once again only a dental specialist can be of assistance.
For one, the good news is that there are alternatives to getting complete dentures. While implant-supported overdentures and dental bridges may be options for you, there is no better solution than dental implants. The advantages of dental implants are numerous. They look more natural than the alternatives. They don’t compromise the health of your adjacent teeth. They require normal daily oral hygiene and maintenance. They feel and function like natural teeth, and lastly, they are surprisingly very affordable when you factor in the long-term cost of care. Learn more about the advantages of dental implants.
Now your family’s general dentist may have taken a few courses in how to perform dental implants, but prosthodontists have been specifically trained in the procedure. Prosthodontists are certified specialists in the trifecta of smile restoration – implant, cosmetic, and reconstructive dentistry. They are trained on how to both mitigate and manage risks and issues that may arise during surgery, and work from clinics that vastly differ from that of general practitioners, clinics that provide for the equipment and environment you need for optimal health, safety, and comfort.
When it comes to replacing missing teeth, only a specialist will do.
3. You’re Concerned About Gum Disease and Recession
Early stages of gum disease can be eradicated with regular dental checkups and strict adherence to oral hygiene best practices, but if you’re concerned about advanced gum disease and related ailments, you’re going to want to see a specialist.
One of the biggest concerns surrounding gum health, is receding gums, a condition that not only ruins your smile, but it also sets the table for tooth loss. Some general dentists may recommend gum grafts as a solution to gum recession, but most patients fear all that comes with this invasive procedure. Thankfully, advances in modern specialized dentistry have delivered an alternative to gum grafting – pinhole surgical technique (PST). PST is a procedure that involves the use of specialized instruments to make a small hole in your receding gum and add collagen to stabilize the area of gingival recession. The case for PST over grafting is strong, given that it is non-invasive, allows for the treatment of multiple areas of recession in one session, results in minimal side effects with faster recovery, and delivers a near-immediate improvement in your smile. PST is performed by a periodontist, a dentist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal (gum) disease.
4. You’re Worried About More Concerning Oral Diseases
Ideally, your oral concerns would come down to aesthetics and function, but unfortunately, there are some ailments that come with far grander implications, ones that can impact your overall health, wellness, and mortality, including oral cancer. Oral pathology is a dental specialty concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders of the mouth and lower face. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons specialize in surgery of the mouth, face, and jaws, and together with a specialty clinic prosthodontist (the leader and quarterback in executing treatment plans) will ensure that you receive treatment and therapy that will restore your oral health. While a general dentist can certainly help identify underlying oral diseases, they will need to refer you to a specialist for a more comprehensive analysis, including oral cancer screening and more.
The above oral health concerns are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the value in seeking the services of a dental specialist. It’s important to note that while specialists often work in conjunction with both you and your general dentist, a referral from a general dentist is not necessary. You have the right to contact a dental specialist directly. For the best possible treatment for your household, we encourage you to contact the Vancouver Dental Specialty Clinic today for a consultation.