When you need to get something done on your teeth, you immediately know you need to go see a dentist. Much like doctors who have skill sets based on their specialties, like cardiology or podiatry, dentists are also diverse in their nature.
So if you need to get a specific procedure done, you might need to go see a specialist outside of your typical dentist’s office. Let’s take a look at some of the different types of dental professionals, as well as who you should visit if you’re looking to get some implants.
There are a few different types of dentists that each have their own specialties and skills for helping you achieve holistic wellness in your oral health.
Here’s some brief information about all of them:
If you’re getting a routine cleaning and check-up, you’re probably seeing a general dentist. These are professionals with an all-around understanding of your teeth, gums, and everything in between. Your general dentist will likely come in at the end of your cleaning session once the oral hygienist is done to check for abnormalities.
General dentists can conduct root canals, cavity removals, and crown placement. They can also refer you to specialists for help with something outside of their scope of practice.
Orthodontists focus on your bite and jaw. They improve the way your teeth meet by giving you treatments like braces, invisible aligners, and palate expanders. They can also help with crowded bites, overlapping teeth, underbites, and overbites.
These are dental health specialists who diagnose and treat tooth pain. They offer root canal treatments and are more highly skilled at helping severe cases of cavities and decay.
Also known as gum specialists, periodontists can help with gum disease that is too severe to be treated by a general dentist. If you experience bleeding or swollen gums, you might need to visit one.
Oral surgeons are one of the few specialists on this list that also have a four to six-year residency outside of their graduate dental degree. This is because they conduct invasive surgeries of the teeth, mouth, and jaw. This includes extraction, wisdom tooth removal, oral reconstruction, and more.
Dental implants are a permanent solution to missing teeth. You might lose an adult tooth because of severe tooth decay that needed an extraction, or you might have gotten a tooth knocked out from an injury. Either way, implants are one of the most reliable options to replace the gaps.
Dental implants are made of two components: a titanium post and an abutment (fake) tooth over the top. The titanium post is fused to your jawbone to provide a secure foundation for the abutment tooth, which restores the structure and function of your teeth.
Dental implants are a complicated procedure that can require many steps and a fairly lengthy recovery process. During your first appointment and consultation, your dentist will likely refer you to a periodontal specialist for placement. They’ll also assess the strength of your jawbone. You need to be able to have a strong jaw in order to support the implant.
If your jaw is weaker or not thick enough, you might need a bone graft: This works by removing a piece of bone from a portion of your body and placing it into the jaw. Synthetic bone grafts are also available if need be. This helps ensure that the implant doesn’t fail after placement.
Once the jaw is ready to receive the implant, the surgeon will drill a hole into the jaw where the implant will be placed. The post serves as the tooth root, so the bone needs to fuse around the implant to hold it in place. This process is called osseointegration, and it’s what helps ensure that the titanium post does not move out of place.
This process can take several months, but once the bone successfully fuses, you’ll return to the office to place the permanent abutment tooth. This minor surgery is usually done with a local anesthetic.
While there are a few options for who you can see for dental implants, the most reliable options are oral surgeons. This is because the implant is an invasive procedure that needs to be done by someone who has served a surgical residency.
Oral surgeons are highly skilled in implants, extractions, and other surgeries involving the mouth and jaw. In most cases, you’ll see them for your implant placement.
With that said, you might see a specialist for the placement of the abutment tooth or the crown. And if you need a bone graft or co-occurring procedure, it’s possible that you could need to get certain parts of the procedure performed elsewhere.
Dental implants have the potential to last a lifetime, and in some cases, they are stronger than actual, natural teeth. But with durability comes a high price to pay. Dental implants range anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000 out of pocket, making it one of the most costly dental procedures you can get.
Whether or not your dental insurance company will cover your implants can go either way. Some insurers consider it to be a cosmetic treatment since, technically, a gap in your teeth doesn’t pose a risk to your oral health (in most cases). However, if you can demonstrate a physiological need for the implant, some insurers will cover some or most of the cost.
No matter what, you shouldn’t need to worry about the cost of dental care. If you need an implant, it should be much easier to get one.
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The cost of care is inexpensive, but that certainly doesn’t mean the care falls short. Our network of dentists is rigorously vetted against a set of strict criteria, so you can have confidence that the quality of your care is exceptional.
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Once the numbing has worn off, you’ll start to feel some pain and discomfort near the surgical site. You can take some medications prescribed by your provider to ease the discomfort.
If not, you can also take over-the-counter pain relief medications, like ibuprofen, to ease the pain. You should eat liquid and very soft foods that don’t require chewing or pressure on the implant site, like jello, broth, ice cream, and smoothies.
Additionally, you’ll need to take a few days off from exercising. Strenuous activity can cause any sutures or implants to fall out of place and heal improperly.
Discomfort and swelling are common for the first three days after the surgery. Any bleeding should subside after about a day or two. About three days in, you can typically start eating some firmer foods like pasta and rice in addition to your liquid foods. You can also start to exercise, though extremely strenuous activity might cause some pain.
After about a week, the gums should have healed significantly. The implant site might feel a bit tender, but it should be healed and normal. You can eat pretty much anything, though try to eat crunchy and tough foods on the opposite side of your mouth from the implant until your surgeon gives you the “go-ahead” to do so.
Dental implants are a permanent solution that not many people want. Also, some people physically cannot get dental implants because their jawbone strength is not as great as it needs to be.
The good news is that there are alternatives that are all more inexpensive:
Dentures are one of the most common solutions to lost teeth. These are prosthetic pieces that adhere to the roof of the mouth to replace the appearance of missing teeth. Dentures can be full, meaning they replace all teeth on your upper or lower jaw, or partial, meaning they replace just a few of your teeth.
Either way, dentures are removable. This is a major upside for many people who want more flexibility and don’t want to go under the knife. However, this also means that dentures are much less strong than implants and greatly reduce your biting force. This makes it hard for you to enjoy all of the foods you love.
The average cost of dentures can range from $600 to $1,500 out of pocket.
Dental bridges are a prosthetic tooth that is held in place by crowns on either side of the gap – just like a bridge connecting two points. Bridges are also permanent fixtures, but they do not require surgery.
The teeth surrounding the gap are sanded down to make room for dental crowns. These are placed with an abutment tooth in between that serves to restore the structure and function of your missing tooth.
Bridges are durable and allow you to retain most of your biting force, so you don’t need to eliminate any foods. The average price of dental bridges can range from $2,000 to $5,000.
There are many types of dentists, from general dentists to periodontists. While each can offer its own specialties, you’ll need to see an oral surgeon for dental implants since it is an invasive procedure.
Dental implants require your surgeon to drill into your jaw and place titanium posts. Dental implants are a great, permanent solution for missing teeth.
With that said, they are one of the most expensive oral health treatments, especially if you need to pay out of pocket. Save up to 50% on your implants and other procedures with Flossy. Sign up for your free membership with the Flossy App today and start towards the best version of your smile with no waiting period before you can access care.