When should you see a dental specialist?
When your attending dentist recommends it, often due to the complexity of a treatment requiring specialized techniques.
Who are they and what do they do?
The endodontist mainly treats inflammations and infections of the internal root canal system of the tooth, especially the dental pulp and the peri-root tissues (tissues around the root of the teeth). The goal is to preserve the affected tooth after restoring it to a controllable state of health and normal function.
Endodontic therapy (also called “root canal treatment”): consists of removing the pulp from the pulp chamber of the tooth, shaping and sealing it.
Apectomy or apical resection: When an infection persists despite root canal treatment, this procedure consists in removing the root tip and a filling with a biocompatible material is set into place to close the canal.
An orthodontist is a specialist whose expertise is the alignment and coordination of teeth and jaws in children, adolescents and adults. The goal of orthodontic treatment is to align the teeth to improve their appearance and function. Poor function, or malocclusion, can make it difficult to chew certain foods and cause premature wear of some teeth. It can also cause muscle tension and pain, and advanced teeth can chip or break more easily. To bring the teeth into their desired position, gentle pressure is applied with fixed or removable braces.
The periodontist is a dentist who has completed a specialized 3-year training program following his or her dentistry studies. This specialist will provide care for gingivitis and periodontitis, two inflammatory diseases affecting the gums and bone around the teeth. These conditions are the main cause of tooth loss in adults. To treat these diseases, the periodontist uses different approaches, ranging from root planing to a surgical approach in more severe cases in order to treat, when possible, the affected bone around the teeth.
The periodontist is also specialized in treating, remodeling, and even reconstructing the gums. He can use gum grafts to treat receding gums and cover bare roots, or to even out the gums for a more natural and harmonious smile.
Having studied for 5-7 years following dental school, the maxillofacial surgeon provides a range of solutions and treatments for injuries, diseases, abnormalities and disorders of the jaw and face. He is a specialized dentist and certified to perform surgery on the teeth, bones and muscles of the jaws and face, from the most complicated tooth to be extracted to the most complex fractures to be replaced. The maxillofacial surgeon practices in a private office (minor surgical procedures under local anesthesia or sedation) and in a hospital (major procedures requiring general anesthesia).
The prosthodontist is a dental specialist dedicated to diagnosing, restoring and maintaining the function, comfort, appearance and health of the mouth by restoring natural teeth or replacing missing teeth and adjacent oral and maxillofacial tissues with artificial structures.
The role of the prosthodontist in the dental team is that of architect of the mouth, the person who develops treatment plans and coordinates treatment sequences with other dental specialists and general practitioners in order to provide patients with the best possible care. The prosthodontist’s expertise includes two main components:
- Diagnosis, treatment plan and prevention. It is essential to identify the cause of oral deterioration in order to prevent disease progression, minimize its impact, develop an effective treatment strategy and prevent recurrences.
- Dental treatment using a wide range of solutions, including fillings, prostheses, veneers, crowns, bridges, bitewings and plates, implants and cosmetic dentistry.
The pedodontist’s mission is to provide every child and adolescent with a healthy, beautiful and functional mouth, without making any difference whatsoever between a healthy child and an unhealthy one. He or she is concerned with the prevention, early detection and treatment of oral diseases in children. He or she monitors the formation of the teeth, the condition of the gums and oral tissues and the growth of the jaws and mouth so as to detect and correct any abnormalities that may cause problems with chewing, swallowing, breathing or pronunciation. The pedodontist also detects and treats possible cavities and enamel structure defects.
To enable the pedodontist to carry out his work in good conditions, he or she must strive to establish a relationship of trust with the child as early as the first consultation. Relational and pedagogical qualities are therefore essential to the practice of this specialty.
A health professional recognized for the manufacturing, installation and adjustment of dental prostheses. He or she is the expert in dental prostheses, whether they are partial prostheses, complete prostheses without implants or prostheses on implants. In the case of implant-supported dentures, the dentist places the implants and the denturist makes the denture. The denturist must comply with the strict standards established by the Ordre des denturologistes du Québec by whom his or her right to practice is granted.