When & Why You Could Be Referred to a Dental Specialist
You visit your dentist and learn that you are going to be referred to a dental specialist. You may feel apprehensive, uneasy and a bit panic-stricken. After all, you’ve developed a bond with your dentist and built trust and comfort in belonging to a specific practice. However, rest-assured that being referred is not uncommon, and doesn’t mean that you’re on punishment (usually) or that your dentist is politely breaking up with you. At Highland Dental Group, we would only recommend you to a specialist that we have an established relationship with and who we know would provide you with the best possible result.
The American Dental Association recognizes nine specialties in the field of dentistry, including: orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics; pediatric dentistry; periodontics; prosthodontics; oral and maxillofacial surgery; oral and maxillofacial pathology; endodontics; public health dentistry; and oral and maxillofacial radiology. Based on the specialties in this list, there are various reasons as to why your dentist may refer you to a dental specialist. Let’s take a look at some of the more common situations:
- Extensiveness of the problem
- Complexity of the treatment
- Medical complications
- Availability of special equipment and instruments
- Geographic proximity of the specialist or consulting dentist
Here is a look at some procedures that may require the work of a dental specialist:
- Complex Root Canals: Root canals vary in terms of degree of difficulty based on factors like location and complexity of the root system. Simply put, the further back in the mouth you go, the more complex the procedure can become, which is why you may be referred to an endodontist. At HDG, we perform simple root canal treatments.
- Complex Tooth Extractions: If your tooth has a complex root anatomy or if you’re living with a medical condition like diabetes or have a history of poor heart health, then your dentist will likely refer you to an oral surgeon. When patients have other underlying, serious medical or health conditions, tooth extractions can be higher risk and require the expertise of an oral surgeon.
- Surgical Implants: Similarly to root canals, implants will also vary in difficulty based on their location. Teeth that are in close proximity to a nerve, or those located on the top arch near the maxillary sinus, are more challenging and come with risks that oral surgeons are trained to address. If you have an infected bone or a bone that needs to be rebuilt before an implant can be placed, then you would likely see an oral surgeon as well. At HDG, implant dentistry restorations that we can treat include: a single tooth implant, an implant bridge, an implant supported overdenture, and a hybrid denture.
- Gum Grafting / Advanced Periodontal Issues: At HDG, we provide initial treatment of periodontal disease such as scaling and root planing (deep cleaning) and root surface debridement. We also restore a variety of implant restorations and work closely with the periodontist on the planning of implant placement and treatment. For more advanced periodontal issues, like gum grafting and treatment of recession, we would refer you to a periodontist.
As always, if you have any questions about procedures or treatments that may require a referral from Highland Dental Group to a dental specialist, contact us. We’re always here to ensure that you have the best oral health and hygiene experience possible!