The world of dental services is more diverse than just putting in fillings and performing checkups. Before you visit a dentist, it's a good idea to know what the different skills they have are and which tasks may call for the help of a specialist.
Common Dental Services
Most dentists are happy to assist patients who just need oral exams or those who might require restorative work. Restoration procedures include fillings, veneers, and crowns. These are techniques designed to return a tooth to as close to its original condition as possible. Practices also have access to diagnostic equipment, with X-ray machines being the most regularly utilized.
Extractions are also basic dental services. One common exception is when a tooth, especially a wisdom tooth, has misshapen roots that might require oral surgery to be performed, a job normally handled by a specialist.
In addition to the dentist's works, there is usually a hygienist at each office. This is a professional who handles work like teeth cleanings and assessing gum health. When you have all your dental issues under control, much of your time at your dentist's office will actually be spent with the hygienist.
One of the most common reasons for a dentist to refer a patient to a specialist is oral surgery. This can be due to a variety of issues, including putting in dental implants, treating oral cancers and conducting highly difficult extractions. Damage to the jaw and the facial region is also frequently the work of a surgeon. Notably, more dentists are beginning to perform basic implant work at their own practices.
While we think of braces at a dental thing, alignment corrections are usually not the job of a dentist. Your dental practitioner will refer you to an orthodontist to see if you're a candidate for teeth straightening. The two will then share information to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.
If you have issues with your gums, you may be referred to a periodontist. They address many types of problems, from cosmetic concerns to progressing gum disease.
How Referrals Work
Most dentists maintain relationships with several specialists in their areas. This ensures their patients have several options to work with and are able to get multiple opinions. When a dentist sends a patient out to another doctor, they will provide a signed note to explain what concerns have been identified. The patient may also have to authorize a transfer of records.