How to Pick a Top Dental Surgeon
Are you wondering how to find a top dental surgeon for a complex procedure? A general dentist can handle simple problems, but you’ll want a specialist for advanced treatment. The type of dental surgeon you need depends on what structures in your mouth are affected. Here are just a few examples:
Periodontists – These dentists have the ability to surgically graft gum and/or bone to restore losses in these tissues. This procedure may be done to help preserve teeth or in preparation for installing a dental implant to replace a missing tooth. Your general dentist should refer you to a periodontist if you have the early stages of periodontal (gum) disease to minimize the amount of surgical intervention required.
Endodontists – These dentists handle advanced cases of damage or infection to tooth pulp and nerves. A severe or recurring tooth root abscess should be addressed surgically by an endodontist. If you are told you need a pulpotomy, pulpectomy, or apicoectomy, you’ll want to see a periodondist.
Prosthodontist – These dentists deal with surgery on teeth. They can restore or replace missing or severely damaged teeth with dental prosthetics including bridges, crowns, inlays and onlays, and dental implants. The more teeth you need replaced, the more you should consider seeing a prosthodontist.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon – Oral and maxillofacial surgeons perform surgical procedures on the teeth, gums, jaw, mouth, and throat. If you need reconstruction of these structures, this kind of surgeon is your best bet. These dentists have hospital privileges and experience with full anesthesia – not just sedation. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons handle a wider variety of procedures than any other dental specialists. When people refer to dental surgery, they are often thinking of this type of dentist. Many people visit an oral surgeon if they require a surgical extraction of an upper wisdom tooth that is located near or partially in the sinus cavity, or if they have bony impaction of lower wisdom teeth.
Top dentists who specialize in the types of surgery listed above will have accreditation from the ADA for their specialty. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon should also be certified as a member or “diplomate” by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (ABOMS). This indicates that the surgeon has received graduate level training in pathology, anesthesia, plastic surgery and other relevant fields. A few dental surgeons have MD degrees in addition to their OMS. Others meet and maintain the requirements for membership in the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS).
Top dental surgeons generally specialize further and are known for being among the best in their field at a particular set of procedures. For example, one might be the ideal surgeon for handling full mouth restoration for patients who have been in an accident. Another might be renowned for the ability to do tumor removal and subsequent reconstruction with great results. You can usually Google these surgeons and find out whether they have articles or studies published in medical/dental journals.
Many types of oral surgery are reimbursable by either dental or medical insurance – or both. Your dental surgeon’s office should help you with submitting a claim to one or both insurance carriers. However, you will have to make sure your chosen surgeon is in-network to take full advantage of your insurance benefits.