Depending on your dental needs, there often can be some confusion on whether to visit your dentist or an oral surgeon. Although some of the treatments offered by both may overlap, the two professions are in fact very different. Therefore, it’s beneficial to make the distinction between the two to ensure you receive the care you need to keep your mouth problem-free and your teeth in top condition.
The primary role of your dentist is to ensure you are practicing and are able to maintain good oral health and hygiene. In most cases, people build long-term, trusted relationships with their dentist, many of which last a lifetime. Most relationships are centered around regularly scheduled check-ups – usually twice a year – and may include period visits for certain conditions or concerns that may arise. Your dentist will have your entire oral health history on record and are likely to be the person to identify any serious oral or dental problems that could require more specialized treatment.
Typical Responsibilities of a Dentist
While some dentists may specialize in additional areas, such as orthodontia or even oral surgery, nearly all general or family dentists will perform dental examinations (inspection of teeth and gums) that likely will include X-rays, cleaning, fluoride treatments and sealants (for children). Your dentist will help you take care of your gums and offer treatments if your gum care is lacking. If you have cavities your dentist will fill them; likewise, if you require a root canal, simple extraction, scaling, crowns or bridges they can perform these as well. Your dentist also will screen for oral cancers and often is the first to notice signs that you may have this or other oral diseases.
Oral surgeons, also known as maxillofacial surgeons, are more specialized in treating significant dental conditions and focus exclusively on dental surgeries, many of which are performed using sedation, which is essential for major dental work. The most common surgical procedures that they perform include:
- Impacted tooth extractions, particularly wisdom teeth.
- Simple and complex (may include bone) tooth removal.
- Soft tissue removal.
- Dental implants and implant alignments.
- TMJ corrections (to aid conditions affecting the temporomandibular joints, jaw muscles and facial nerves).
- Removal of tumors.
Referrals to an Oral Surgeon
Unless your dentist also is an oral surgeon, your dentist will refer you to one if during your regular check-up or emergency visit he detects or finds any abnormalities or serious conditions, as listed above. This is especially true if an extraction involves impacted teeth that have been blocked from breaking through the gum.
Complete dental care for you and your family in the Twin Cities
Hagerman Dental Care in Minneapolis-St. Paul offers you and your family comprehensive, state-of-the-art preventive, restorative and cosmetic dentistry services in one convenient location. Whatever your needs or requirements, Dr. Steven Hagerman and his friendly staff are committed to the long-term health of your teeth and dedicated to the aesthetic beauty of your smile. Find out why Dr. Hagerman was recognized as one of the Twin Cities’ top dentists by Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine as both a general and cosmetic dentist. Call Hagerman Dental Care today at (651) 646-2392, or use our online form to request an appointment at your convenience. We look forward to serving you with a smile!