Why You Should Go To A Specialist – Not a Generalist- For Dental Surgery
Some patients will go to a general dentist to get a major dental surgery done. After all, General Dentists are sometimes cheaper than Specialists. There are clinics that will get general dentists to perform serious dental surgeries in order to offer more affordable services. Does it really make a difference?
Any patient who wants to undergo a corrective dental procedure should be interested in knowing the background of the person who will be carrying out the procedure. To be a General Dentist, you have to train for five years. Specialists need an additional 2-5 years of training on top in order to qualify as a specialist.
Generalists may charge a lower rate, but this does not necessarily make them a better choice because Specialists have more knowledge, experience, and training than General Dentists.
A specialist is more likely to be well versed in the latest treatments and better aware of how to avoid any complications that are likely to arise in the course of treatment.
Specialists are also better qualified to propose better options for treatment that may offer a better outcome or cost less.
Types of Dental Specialists
Prosthodontists are replacement specialists. They specialize in replacing missing teeth and restoring damaged teeth. Prosthodontists understand the process of restoring a lovely smile. They are also excellent at installing crowns, porcelain veneers, fixed bridges, dental implants, and carrying out reconstructive procedures.
Periodontists are gum specialists who specialize in treating, preventing, and diagnosing gum diseases. They are experts in gum disease and also placement of dental implants like all-on-4 dental implants.
Endodontists are experts in the root canal – that tiny passage filled with nerves, blood vessels, and pulp. They treat and diagnose tooth problems.
Maxillofacial Surgeons are specialists in oral surgery, as their title suggests, they specialize in treating complications affecting the hard tissues and soft tissues of the face, jaw, and the mouth. It is not necessary, though, to get an oral surgeon to perform every oral surgery.
At our Dental Clinic, we make sure that every patient is treated by a specialist (periodontist) who can guarantee the highest quality of work and the best results.
There are some questions you might want to ask your Dentist before getting a major dental procedure done:
- Ask if you will be attended to be a specialist.
- Ask where the doctor studied and what kind of degrees of qualifications they have.
You are entrusting your smile – one of the most important aspects of your appearance – to them and you should not be too shy to inquire about their credentials.
Let’s say your doctor has recommended a surgical procedure in your mouth and referred you to a specialist, an oral surgeon. You need to ask some questions.
Ask why he or she wants you to be operated on by an oral surgeon specifically. Ask why she/he has chosen a specific oral surgeon and not another. This is a very important decision for your oral health and you need to understand everything.
Oral surgeons – also called oral and maxillofacial surgeons – are dental specialists who have undergone an additional 4-6 years of training in addition to the minimum 5-year training that General Dentists undergo.
A Doctor of Dental Surgery and a Doctor of Dental Medicine both qualify as dentist to practice general dentistry. Oral surgeons undergo additional sub-specialized training in addition to that.
Dental surgeons zero in on performing surgical procedures like extraction of teeth, placing dental implants, repairing broken bones within the face and jaw, removing tumors and cysts from the jaws, performing soft tissue biopsies, surgery to realign the jaw in order to eliminate bite discrepancies, as well as cosmetic surgeries.
Some community-based oral surgeons will not do complicated surgeries but while general dentists perform surgery occasionally, oral surgeons perform the same surgical procedures on a routine basis. This means that they are highly likely to be more highly skilled and will in all likelihood, deliver a better result than a general dentist.
A study published by the Journal of the American Dental Association found that dental implants have a higher survival rate when they are implanted by an oral surgeon or a periodontist than when they are implanted by a general dentist.
Oral surgeons have a more in-depth training in surgical procedures, and they are experienced in handling a multiplicity of complications that may arise during oral surgery.
A general dentist might not have enough experience to adequately handle some of the complications that might arise. General dentists on the other hand will not be as comfortable handling complications.
When Choosing a Specific Surgeon
Before zeroing in on a specific dental specialist, ask your dentist why that specialist? Maybe the surgeon’s expertise is best suited for getting you accurately and properly evaluated and getting a better outcome from your surgery. Or maybe it might be because of their close working relationship. General dentists prefer referring you to a specialist who they know and trust.
General dentists can be compared to general physicians; only that their area of jurisdiction is the mouth. A licensed dentist can carry out any dental procedure, from filling a tooth, removing a tooth, deep cleaning teeth, carrying out root canals, Invisalign, placing dental implants, placing crowns, as well as grafting bone and tissue.
As the discipline of dental care progresses and gets more and more complicated, it is getting harder and harder for dentists to feel confident enough to perform all these procedures.
There are some procedures that they will have only a limited exposure to during their time in dental school and residency. This means that increasingly, good dentists will choose to refer patients for some interventions that they find will be better provided by a different dentist who is a specialist.
A referral from your general dentist will add to your own confidence in knowing that you are getting medical attention from someone who has more experience performing the surgical procedure because they do it on a regular basis.
A specialist has not only undergone specialty training and garnered many years of experience, but has also been exposed, on a regular basis, to the complications that arise with that particular treatment. This makes them best suited to handle any eventuality.
That synergistic generalist-specialist relationship among dentists works for the benefit of patients, who ultimately receive better care.
For you to get that perfect smile, you should settle for nothing less than that.