My dentist has a lot of different letters after his name, does that mean he’s a specialist?  What if my dentist’s website says she “specializes in dentures“? It can be…

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General Dentists vs. Specialists

My dentist has a lot of different letters after his name, does that mean he’s a specialist?  What if my dentist’s website says she “specializes in dentures“? It can be pretty confusing when trying to decide if you need to see a specialist, especially since specialized treatment typically costs more. This excerpt from an article on 1Dental.com may help you understand the differences.

General Dentists

This type of dentist can perform all basic procedures and specialist procedures to a certain degree. They determine which specialized treatments they want to perform. These procedures might include root canals, crowns, periodontal work and dentures. The best discount plan lowers prices for these up to 60% or more. However, many of these dentists will opt out of performing at least some of these procedures and recommend a specialist when their patient needs specialty work.

Specialists

Specialists spend an extended amount of time in dental school (sometimes 5 years longer than general dentists!) to receive additional training in performing more specialized oral care. At the end of their training, these dentists can perform all basic procedures, specialized procedures not in their field of extended study to a certain degree, and all specialized procedures in their field of extended study.

Specialists are qualified into several major categories:

  • Endodontists perform root canals.
  • Periodontists treat gum diseases.
  • Oral Surgeons perform advanced surgical extractions.
  • Prosthodontists create specialized dentures, bridges, and implants.
  • Pediatric dentists specialize in treating children.
  • Orthodontists specialize in aligning the teeth.

How to Choose

When deciding whether to visit a specialist or not, it is recommend that, if at all possible, you see a general dentist for your treatment. When enrolled in a dental discount plan, this choice will allow you to save the most money and to receive the care you need. However, if you need an intricate or complicated procedure, your dentist can refer you to a specialist.

To read more about dentists and affordable dental work, visit 1Dental.com.

4 Comments
  1. Good Post! I will first visit a general dentist as my dental problem is not that complex. I think one should consult a specialist dentist only if dental problem is serious.

  2. This list is only partially complete:

    Orthodontist (the first dental specialty). Treats missalignment of teeth 3D spacial discrepancies of the bone that hold them in place.

    • You’re right, orthodontists are a very important type of specialist, and it’s difficult to sum up what they do in a short sentence. Thanks for pointing that out.

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