Having your teeth and mouth in good shape is important for many reasons. With poor dental health, you run a higher risk of acquiring numerous diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, compared to maintaining good oral health. In addition, especially for our younger crowd, you might find it difficult engage in social activities because of the fear that bad teeth and breath might tarnish your first impression on others. Due to such importance of oral health, the field of dentistry is not limited to just general dentists anymore. More specialist subfields have been developed in this branch of medicine in order prevent, diagnose and repair dental issues that the average dentist does not have to means to do. In this article, we will look into these specialist fields and their importance for maintaining optimal oral health.
Endodontist- Ensuring the Health of Dental Pulp and Periradicular Tissues
Endodontists are those specialized dentists that have accomplished the training of endodontic therapy which is commonly known by the term ‘root canal therapy’. Dentists equipped with the knowledge of endodontic therapy have expertise in the physiology, pathology and morphology of periradicular tissues and dental pulp.
Dental pulp and periradicular tissues are strongly associated with each other. All the blood vessels, tissues and nerves surrounding the teeth root are referred by ‘periradicular tissues’, while the dental bulb is the central living connective tissue of a teeth. Dental pulp and periradicular tissues play important role in the formation of dentin, a calcified tissue essential for having strong and healthy teeth.
Orthodontist- Rectifying Crooked Teeth and Jaws
Orthodontics belongs to that part of dentistry where dentist get the formal training to rectify the improperly cited teeth and misaligned jaws. This type of oral cavity issues can make it difficult for people to eat properly. People with crooked teeth also shy away from social interactions.
Orthodontics comes to the help of individuals suffering from all such issues. Orthodontists are skilled with the knowledge to perfectly employing dental fixtures (braces, aligners, headgears etc) to address the misalignment problems of teeth and jaws. Usually, general dentists after initial consultation refer patients to orthodontists.
Pediatric Dentist- Helping in Initial Oral Development
It is a known fact that dynamics of teeth is very different during infancy and teen years. Human teeth need extra care during childhood. Many adults suffer from oral health issues just because their teeth were not properly taken care of during their earlier development phase.
This factor highlights the importance of pediatric dentists who are specialized in taking care of the oral health of children and ensure better dental growth and development in them.
Maxillofacial Surgeons—Improving Functional and Aesthetical Features
Maxillofacial surgeons are usually required in more specialized cases of dental and oral concerns. In simple words, maxillofacial surgeons are the orthopedic surgeons treating the facial and oral regions to resolve both aesthetic and functional features of the area. For instance, they can carry out facial reconstructive surgery as well as remove impacted teeth.
Unlike maxillofacial surgeons, pathologists of the same domain are focused on finding the underlying causes of oral health problems. Maxillofacial pathologists have undergone the training to perform oral biopsies for the sake of diagnosis.
In some cases where natural oral anatomy can’t be fixed, dentistry has to come with biocompatible substitutes that can assist a patient with the same functionality of damaged and lost oral and dental features. Prosthodontist are trained to address these issues with options of dentures and veneers. They also take care of the ongoing maintenance and functionality of these biocompatible oral prosthetics.
Dental Public Health
Apart from the above-discussed specialist fields of dentistry. There is another non-clinical realm called Dental Public Health (DPH). DPH specializes in addressing the dental health issues of a whole community. Dentists operating in this domain are focused on the better oral health of a group of people instead of individual patients.
DPH specialists usually make use of their expertise in these areas:
- Ensuring that the entire community is getting sufficient dental health education
- They also devise oral health programs to tackle the common and most prevalent dental issues in the community
- They are also responsible to introduce measures for the prevention of large-scale oral and dental diseases