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Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are dentists specializing in surgery of the mouth, face and jaws. After four years of dental school, surgeons receive four to seven years of hospital-based surgical and medical training, preparing them to do a wide range of procedures including all types of surgery of both the bones and soft tissues of the face, mouth and neck.
Periodontists are dentists who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal (gum) disease. They have had extensive training with two additional years of study after dental school. As specialists they devote their time, energy and skill to helping patients care for their gums. A periodontist is one of the eight dental specialists recognized by the American Dental Association.
Your dentist has determined that your gums require special attention. The periodontist and dentist work together as a team to provide you with the highest level of care. They will combine their experience to recommend the best treatment available to you while keeping each other informed on your progress. By referring you to the specialist, your dentist is showing a strong commitment to your dental health.
The Endodontist examines, diagnoses and treats diseases and destructive processes, including injuries and abnormalities of dental pulps and periapical tissues of the teeth.
Endodontists examine patients and interpret radiographs and pulp tests to determine pulp vitality and periapical tissue condition. They evaluate their findings and prescribe a method of treatment to prevent loss of teeth.
The prosthodontist examines and diagnoses disabilities caused by loss of teeth and supporting structures. They formulate and execute treatment plans for the construction of corrective prostheses to restore proper function and esthetics of the mouth, face, and jaw.
A pediatric dentist has at least two additional years of training beyond dental school. The additional training focuses on management and treatment of a child’s developing teeth, child behavior, physical growth and development, and the special needs of children’s dentistry. Although either type of dentist is capable of addressing your child’s oral health care needs, a pediatric dentist, his or her staff, and even the office décor are all geared to care for children and to put them at ease. If your child has special needs, care from a pediatric dentist should be considered.
An orthodontist prevents and treats mouth, teeth, and jaw problems. Using braces, retainers, and other devices, an orthodontist helps straighten a person’s teeth and correct the way the jaws line up.
Orthodontists treat kids for many problems, including having crowded or overlapping teeth or having problems with jaw growth and tooth development. These tooth and jaw problems may be caused by tooth decay, losing baby teeth too soon, accidents, or habits like thumb sucking. These problems can also be genetic or inherited.
Your dentist or one of your parents might recommend it because they see a problem with your teeth or jaws. Or a kid who doesn’t like the way his or her teeth look might ask to see an orthodontist.
A dental bridge is a type of partial denture, a solid restorative structure that “bridges a gap” between two teeth. Bridges are supported by natural teeth or implants and are an excellent way to replace missing teeth. They can be either permanently attached or are removable.
Fixed bridges do not come out. They are not removable, although they may need to be re-cemented or replaced. Fixed bridges are applied by either placing crowns on the abutment teeth, or by resin bonding the artificial teeth directly to the abutment teeth. They help preserve facial shape, restore chewing and smiling, and prevent the neighboring teeth from drifting.
A removable bridge (removable partial denture) is made of artificial teeth with small precision attachments on either side that anchor them to the neighboring teeth. Removable bridges are easier to clean than the fixed bridges but slightly less retentive.
Any patient who has lost a tooth or multiple teeth but still has some natural teeth and is in decent oral health can benefit from a bridge. Bridges are naturally and realistically looking, and often help improve the patient’s facial structure and smile. One of the most important reasons for a bridge is maintaining good dental health. When a tooth or several teeth are missing, chewing is difficult and puts unusual stress on the remaining teeth and gum tissues, which can cause a number of potentially harmful disorders, including bone loss. A bridge can minimize the development of gum disease—a side effect due to missing teeth.
It usually takes two to three appointments to complete the procedure.
Dental bridges can be constructed from gold alloys, non-precious alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. Porcelain is often bonded to either precious or non-precious metal.
Dental bridges require a good oral health care, as teeth covered by crowns are also susceptible to tooth decay. Additionally, cleaning under the pontic (missing tooth) is also very important. Regular brushing and flossing are critical, as plaque can accumulate and lead to gingivitis and gum disease. Good daily home care and regular dental checkups can help minimize or prevent oral health problems.