Working Together for Excellent Patient Care
At Timberlake Dental, not only do we believe that each patient should be treated with excellence; we believe that each individual procedure should be carried out with excellence. Because our goal is for each patient to receive the best treatment in every aspect of their health care, we cooperate with medical and dental specialists to accomplish interdisciplinary dentistry.
We understand that, as a patient, it is more convenient to have all of your dental care performed in one office. However, when it comes to a choice between convenience and excellence, we will always choose excellence. When Dr. Chowning creates a customized treatment plan for his patients, he considers what type of practitioner will best perform each individual procedure. These decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, much like a primary care physician may treat a case of high blood pressure in his or her office, but refer out a complicated cardiovascular issue to a cardiologist.
The American Dental Association recognizes nine dental specialties in dentistry. These specialties are characterized by residency programs, which add several years to their education, and certifying boards, which recognize their limitation of practice to a specific specialty. The nine recognized dental specialties are:
- Dental Public Health – promotion of oral health and disease prevention
- Endodontics – root canals and surgeries related to infections originating within the tooth
- Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology – diagnosis of abnormal lesions and diseases of the oral cavity
- Oral & Maxillofacial Radiology – interpretation of images of the head & neck complex, including x-rays and cone beam computed tomography
- Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery – surgical intervention ranging from simple extraction of teeth to complex realignment of the upper and lower jaws
- Orthodontics – realignment of teeth and bite relationships
- Pediatric Dentistry – dentistry for children
- Periodontics – treatment of diseases and conditions of the supporting structures of the teeth: bones, ligaments, and gum tissue
- Prosthodontics – restoration of missing tooth and jaw structures
Many people are surprised to learn that there are currently no recognized specialties for TMJ, cosmetic dentistry, and dental implants. Advertising claims can be misleading in these areas.
Why Do Some Dentists Pull Wisdom Teeth, Place Implants or Do Root Canals?
Many general dentists have practiced long enough to determine which procedures they are able to perform with excellence, rather than just being competent. They will spend more time in continuing education learning the procedures that they love, and will consistently improve their skill in specific techniques. This is why some general dentists are able to provide excellent treatment in areas another general dentist would refer to a specialist.
On the other hand, you may find that a dentist who used to do root canals in his office no longer does. It is likely that this dentist has found he is not able to efficiently provide the very best root canal for his patients, and they will receive a more positive long-term success rate by seeing an endodontist for that specific procedure.
As we discussed in our previous blog on how oral health affects your overall health, there are many connections between the mouth and the rest of the body. As we continue to gather more information about your head & neck with the 3D imaging and continued learning in dentistry, we are better able to recognize these connections and advise you to see the appropriate medical specialist.
The Importance of the General Dentist
In cases where interdisciplinary dentistry is necessary, the general dentist plays an important role. In addition to performing certain procedures in the care of the patient, the general dentist is instrumental in organizing and coordinating the flow of communication and treatment among the various specialists.
If you have a complicated dental history and think you need interdisciplinary dentistry, call our office today at 940-382-1750 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Chowning. His commitment to excellent care will ensure you see the proper doctor for each individual procedure your treatment requires.