The other day I was talking with some friends who are not quite as familiar with the dental field as I am. A couple of questions came up. Nothing too deep like “why is the sky blue?” or “what does it all really mean?” These were a little more practical in nature but got us thinking, perhaps other people want to know the answers as well. So today, we’re blogging about the dental profession. Who are we, underneath the mask?
We’ll start with the basics. A Dentist is a Doctor who has trained for at least an additional four years after his/her undergraduate degree and often for as many as 7-8 years depending on any specialty services offered. Dentists are on the front-lines providing care for patients. A Dentist will teach you about oral health care, identify areas of concern including periodontal disease, gum disease and oral cancers in addition to the traditional tasks of fighting and filling cavities. There are of course many other things we Doctors do but consider this the “highlight reel.”
What then is a Dental Hygienist? A Periodontist, Orthodontist or Endodontist? While a Dentist might have a complex about the fact that many seem to be afraid of us, the dental hygienist usually has no such concern. A licensed professional, the hygienist, like the members of our team here are Brinkley, are the much-loved accompaniment to the Dentist. After all, they offer a friendly face to the patient, often the first person you see in a dental office and they provide important care for your teeth through regular cleanings and early identification of potential cavities. They often take your X-rays and some are additionally trained in providing local anesthesia as well as other services. Working together with the Dentist they help keep you comfortable throughout your appointment.
An Endodontist works at the “root” of your problems – that’s right, he is the root canal specialist! These additionally trained professionals (2-3 years added schooling) provide root canal services in an office dedicated to the task. Other services are provided too but this would be the main service for which they are known. A Periodontist deals with the structures that support the teeth including diseases that may affect them. Often, as part of their treatment protocol, they provide dental implant services.
Next up, the bane to every thirteen year old in existence – the Orthodontist. Typically receiving an additional two – four years education this is the Doctor we have a love/hate relationship with. Providing care through braces, the Orthodontist will work with the patient over a period of time to straighten the teeth that Mother Nature provided. Often they do extensive work in realignment of the jaw and facial features too. We love them when they’re done but hate them while they are on. With new features like Invisaligns however, being “sentenced” to braces these days isn’t quite as bad as it used to be!
Of course, it’s important to note that often, your Dentist can provide many of these services right in his/her own office. Many Dentists are additionally trained in a variety of dental services. Some offices specialize in “sleep dentistry” providing patients with oral health care while “asleep” and other specialize in providing services just for children. The team here at Brinkley are proud to say that we can, by working together with other professionals, provide many of the extra services you might need, right here in the comfort of our offices on Hurontario St. in Brampton. Stop in to say hello. Get to know us “underneath the mask” and find our more about what we can do for you.