Oral and Maxillofacial Professionals
While this grouping of specialists sounds like a mouthful, what they do for your smile is more straightforward. They assess and diagnose diseases that occur in the face, mouth, and neck. They also create and complete treatment plans for these diseases. Three significant concentrations within the field of oral and maxillofacial dental professionals include:
- Oral pathologists specialize in injuries in the head and neck. They identify, manage, and sometimes treat these diseases. For example, if your general dental finds a lump or bump in your mouth or jaw, they may refer you to an oral pathologist. The pathologist will then meet with you for an assessment and further testing.
- Oral radiologists interpret dental X-rays to diagnose specific head and neck conditions. Think of them as similar to medical radiologists. They use radiant energy to produce and analyze radiographs to detect disease.
- Oral surgeons are tooth extraction specialists. While this may not be your favorite specialist to visit, they perform vital functions! They focus on implants and facial surgeries, devise treatment plans, and create prostheses for patients who lose parts of their mouth, head, neck, or jaw. While this definition may sound alarming at first, oral surgeons provide even the most routine surgeries, like wisdom tooth removal!
The field of dentistry has dramatically improved and diversified over the past decades. With these various specialties, you're able to see a trained professional who focuses on the specific issue at hand. Their goal is to collaborate, research, and advance the art and science of dentistry. And above all, they know that preventing disease and improving your oral health is the most important work they can do.