No More Natural Teeth: Deciding Between Implants and Dentures

Which Dental Specialist Do You Need To See?

by Jeremiah Barnett

Although most people already visit a general dentist, the American Dental Association recognizes ten specialties. Dentists that have trained in these specialties have spent extra time in school compared to general dentists. Some specialties, like dental public health, focus on the community rather than a single patient; but, there are many specialists that can treat individual problems.

If you don't have a general dentist yet, but you have a specific problem that needs to be addressed, you may want to seek out a specialist in your area. Read on to learn about four dental specialties. 

Dental Anesthesiology

Dentists with certifications in this specialty have a great understanding of anesthesiology and pain management. Although you may think that you would only need a dentist with this training for surgery, dentists with this specialty are great if you need sedation dentistry. People with anxiety or dental phobia may need different levels of sedation, so if you are nervous about going to the dentist, consider a dental service provider that focuses on this specialty. Dental anesthesiology specialists are also helpful when a patient has a disability. Some patients with disabilities cannot sit still, so it can be dangerous to work on them unless they are sedated. 

Pediatric Dentistry

If you have children or teens, you may want to find a pediatric dentistry specialist. Pediatric dentists know how to work with children and adolescents really well. Their offices are often very inviting and have a fun atmosphere for children. A pediatric specialist can also help you assess your child's orthodontic needs. He or she may recommend interceptive orthodontics, a branch of dentistry that deals with preventing malocclusions. Interceptive orthodontics at an early age could eliminate the need for extensive orthodontic treatment down the road.


If you are missing teeth or gum tissue, then you may want to visit a prosthodontic specialist. These specialists can replace missing teeth with crowns, bridges, dental implants, dentures, and partials. 


A periodontist is a specialist who focuses on gum tissue and supporting structures around your teeth. If you don't floss or you have deep gum pockets that are inflammed, you could be at risk for gingivitis and gum disease. If left untreated, gum disease can cause you to lose your teeth and jaw bone. Gum disease is also linked to other health conditions and can raise your risk of heart disease. A periodontal specialist can perform a deep cleaning below the gumline--called scaling and root planing--to clear your gum pockets of bacteria. 

As you can see, there are many unique issues that could use the expertise of a specialist. Check out dental services in your local area for more information or referrals.