When you visit the dentist, you often meet many staff members, each of whom is responsible for one or more aspects of your oral health care. When choosing a dental professional to provide a specific service, however, many patients may not understand the difference between a dentist and an oral surgeon. It is an important distinction that could affect the outcome of your dental procedure.
Dentists are responsible for maintaining good oral health and are aware of your entire oral health history. What you can expect when visiting the dentist is a thorough cleaning with a dental hygienist, a full dental exam (where they will inspect your teeth, gums and probe between the gum lines looking for decay or deep pockets), scaling (a procedure used to remove extremely stubborn build up), oral cancer screenings, fluoride treatments, x-rays to look for any problems that can’t be seen with the naked eye and sealants (if applicable to your child). If your dentist notices any abnormalities (i.e. gum disease or extremely deep pockets between your teeth and gums) they will refer you to an oral/maxillofacial surgeon who will examine these issues further.
If your dentist refers you to an oral surgeon, it does not necessarily mean you have a challenging case to treat…it simply means there is a specialized surgeon who can adequately treat your case better than a general practitioner. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons focus on treating problems related to the hard and soft tissues of the face, mouth, and jaws. You might need oral surgery for something as common as dental implants or for the treatment of a tumours or cysts in your jaw.
Getting teeth removed and deciding whether to get a dental implant procedure is a big step. We recommend talking with your dentist first. Your dentist can assess your situation and recommend the oral surgeon or dental specialist that is most suited for you.
If you need any further clarity, drop by one of our locations to speak to one of our dental team.