Some are blessed with the perfect smile! 

Others may need help from the following…

The Dental Specialties

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons (OMS or OMFS) specialise in treating diseases, injuries and defects in the head and neck, including the hard and soft tissues of the oral (mouth) and maxillofacial (jaws and face) region.

 

Please note: These ‘smart cookies’ do not only take out wisdom teeth!

OMF surgeons manage and treat problems ranging from the removal of impacted teeth to the repair of facial trauma. They have extensive training in both the dental and medical fields, being qualified dentists and medical doctors. On average it takes about 14 years of tertiary education to become a Surgical Specialist. 

The scope of the specialty is broad and includes the diagnosis and management of facial injuries, salivary gland diseases, facial disproportion, facial pain, impacted teeth, cysts and tumours of the jaws and numerous other problems such as:

  • Head and neck cancer, access to and removal of tumours within the depths of the complex cranio-facial anatomy, including neck dissections.
  • Reconstructive surgery and management of complex cranio-facial fractures after trauma and soft tissue injuries of the mouth, face, and neck.
  • TMJ (jaw joint) surgery and correction of facial disproportion (e.g. pre-braces).
  • Pre-implant surgery, including the use of implants to retain facial or dental prostheses and associated bone grafting techniques as part of oro-facial reconstruction.
  • Removal of impacted teeth and complex buried dental roots, cysts and management of infections.
  • Primary and secondary surgery for cleft lip and palate, and other congenital facial deformities.
  • Management of benign and malignant lesions of the salivary glands and removal of complex skin tumours with facial reconstruction.
  • Cosmetic surgery including face-lifts, eyelid and brow surgery and rhinoplasties (nose-jobs!).

Due to the nature of the work, oral and maxillofacial surgeons often work alongside a variety of specialists in other fields such as Ear Nose & Throat (ENT) surgeons, clinical oncologists, plastic surgeons, orthodontists, restorative dentists, radiologists and neurosurgeons.

As you will see (if you look at the number of letters after their name!) they are extremely well-qualified individuals. If you should require their skills, please rest assured that you are in good hands!

Orthodontics (Braces)

Orthodontic treatment deals with the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of problems associated with the growth and alignment of the teeth and jaws.

By the way, the word ‘orthodontics’ literally means ‘straight teeth’!

Orthodontists are registered Dental Specialists who have completed an additional three years of full-time University training in orthodontics, facial growth and development, biology and biomechanics, after their 5 year General Dental Degree.

Orthodontists are facial growth and dental development experts. They diagnose and treat crooked teeth, bad bites and poorly aligned jaws in children of all ages and more commonly these days also adults who perhaps did not have the opportunity for braces when they were younger.

Treatment involves the design and use of corrective appliances, such as braces, expanders, headgear, functional appliances and even surgery (in conjunction with oral-maxillofacial surgeons), to bring the teeth and jaws into an improved alignment with the facial structures.

In addition to achieving a beautiful, natural smile, there are also important functional reasons why people may need to see an Orthodontic Specialist:

  • Correct misalignments that cause your teeth to wear unevenly or break easily.
  • Make your teeth easier to clean effectively, preventing other dental problems.
  • Create a comfortable bite with reduced wear and tear on tooth enamel and jaws joints.

Both dentists and orthodontists play a valuable role in keeping your teeth healthy and looking good. We work together to achieve optimal results for you and your children. Although a referral from a dentist is not required for you to be seen by an orthodontist, it is always a good idea to first see your family dentist for a check-up. They will be able to refer to a Specialist Orthodontist that they have a good working relationship with. It is also advisable that you keep up regular checks with your general dentist during any orthodontic treatment, as we need to check your oral hygiene is up to scratch!

While orthodontics is primarily about ensuring that teeth line up where they should, it’s also about giving patients the opportunity to look and feel their best!

Paedodontics (Kid’s Dentistry)

Paedodontics is the branch of dentistry that is concerned with preventive and therapeutic oral health care for children, from birth through to adolescence.

Paedodontists (or Paediatric Dental Specialists) must have completed at least three years of additional study after their general dentistry degree at an accredited University and, concurrently at various hospitals. They specialise in provision of advanced dental care for infants, toddlers, pre-schoolers, school-aged children and adolescents.

A Paedodontist has extensive knowledge about child behaviour management, and knowledge of the most up-to-date treatment and preventive modalities in the field of children’s dentistry. They use specialised techniques for managing anxious andor young children including using special approaches for administering local analgesia (injections) and dental sedation. They also can provide dental treatment under general anaesthesia (whilst sleeping) – the patient, not the dentist I must add!  Other skills include:

  • Treatment of children who have medical, physical and intellectual conditions including those with behavioural challenges such as Autism and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
  • Management of children with complex treatment needs or extensive decay.
  • Liaising with doctors, paediatricians, nurses and other allied health professionals as well as teachers and child care workers to help ensure that children have the best dental health possible.

Paedodontists are happy to see children from birth for a variety of neonatal oral conditions, checking oral and facial growth and development, eruption of teeth and providing early advice on prevention. It is well recognised that dental health has significant impacts on general health, and paedodontists understand the importance of developing an oral health care plan, that is also tailored to your child’s future needs.

In a nutshell, paedodontists get on well with kids! They will enable your child to cope with their treatment and ensure he or she will be happy to visit the dentist in the years to come!

Oral Medicine (Lumps, Bumps & Pain)

Oral Medicine is a specialist branch of dentistry concerned with the diagnosis, prevention and predominantly, non-surgical management, of medically-related disorders and conditions affecting the oral (mouth) and maxillofacial (jaws and face) region.

That was a mouthful!

An Oral Medicine Specialist commonly diagnoses and manages oral mucosal disease (ulcers and lumps) and orofacial pain (neuralgia), as well as the oral health care of medically complex patients.

After a 5 year dental degree and a minimum 2 years in general dental practice, prospective specialists then need to complete an additional training of no less than 3 years, full-time duration at an accredited training program in Oral Medicine. Many also possess Master Degrees in other sciences such as Pathology. 

They provide expert diagnostics, advice and management for:

  • Chronic (long standing) facial pain,
  • Oral mucosal disorders like ulceration or infections which can be chronic or acute (painful). 
  • Sleep disorders and snoring (pseudo marriage guidance!).
  • Tempero-mandibular (jaw joint) disorders.
  • Appliances to prevent effects of bruxism (grinding and wear of teeth).
  • Wear and erosion of dental tissues.
  • Complex multi-pharmacological cases (patients on many medications) which can have serious implications for routine dental care of the patient.

Your dentist may refer you to an Oral Medicine Specialist for an opinion of any suspect lesion found at a routine check-up. These referrals are usually precautionary but you are well advised to attend, just to make sure they are not sinister. Please do not ignore any sore spot or ulcer that hangs around for more than a few weeks – get it checked out!

Prosthodontics (Cosmetic Dentistry)

Prosthodontics is the specialty dealing with replacement or repair of teeth with artificial devices such as crowns, veneers, bridges, dentures or dental implants, in order to achieve comfort, aesthetics and functionality.

Put simply it involves rebuilding your smile to the best possible aesthetics, function and health.

To become a board-registered Specialist Prosthodontist, after graduating as a qualified dentist, they must undertake further full-time training in a 3 year University Master’s Degree programme, which involves further study in all facets of dentistry.

Prosthodontists are experts in the fields of:

  • Fixed prosthodontics (crowns, bridges and veneers), both tooth and implant supported.
  • Implant restorations (“screw-in teeth”)
  • Complete and partial removable prosthodontics (dentures).
  • Dental materials and hypersensitivities.
  • Dento-facial trauma and rehabilitation following corrective jaw surgery.
  • Management of congenital (birth) and developmental defects of the teeth and jaws.
  • Complex full mouth rehabilitation.

A prosthodontist’s expertise is commonly sought in situations where a patient has multidisciplinary needs, that is, treatment requiring the care of several dental specialists or if the patient has complex or challenging aesthetic requirements.

Also, when a patient’s functionality is severely compromised by trauma, cancer surgery or defects such as a cleft palate, comprehensive reconstructive dentistry is often required for the restoration of aesthetics and functionality to the patient not only for the present time, but also the future.

If you have been referred by your general dentist or other medical specialist for prosthodontic services, it is because your regular trusted practitioner has your best interest at heart and wants to ensure you receive the best possible care to solve your problem.

Endodontics (Root Canals)

Endodontics is a highly complex area of dental practice involving the diagnosis, prevention and treatment, of diseases of the dental pulp.

Commonly known as the dreaded “Root Canal Treatment”

Endodontists first gain a dental degree which is generally five years of training. They then spend a minimum of two years in general practice to hone their skills, before commencing their 3 year post graduate specialist full-time academic and clinical training, including:

  • Diagnosis of an inflamed or infected tooth and supporting structures.
  • Uses of anaesthesia and pain control.
  • Use of surgical microscopes.
  • Management of dental trauma.
  • Advanced techniques to clean, shape and fill the inside of the tooth to make it disease free and functional again.
  • Endodontic microsurgery (called an apicectomy) to remove diseased tissues surrounding an infected tooth.

If an infected tooth is left untreated it can cause pain and develop an abscess and also bone loss around it. Endodontic treatment gives you an opportunity to retain teeth that would otherwise have to be removed because of this disease or infection.

All dentists are trained to perform endodontic treatment. However, not all “root canal treatments” are the same. A dentist will often refer to an Specialist when a case or tooth is too complex to manage in a general practice setting. This ensures the patients receive expert treatment and the best possible outcome.

Periodontics (Gums)

Periodontics is the specialty area of dentistry that manages the diseases and conditions that affect the supporting structures of teeth.

i.e. the bits that hold your teeth in your mouth! 

The supporting tissues are known as the periodontium, and include the gingiva (gums), alveolar bone around the teeth, cementum, and the periodontal ligament.

A  person who practices this specialty is known as a Periodontist, who, after a 5 year Dental Degree and a minimum 2 years in general dental practice, needs to complete an additional 3 years of University based training before qualifying as a specialist. 

A periodontist provides a comprehensive range of diagnostic, non-surgical and surgical services aimed at improving your periodontal health. Pre-prosthetic surgery can be provided to improve aesthetics and function of restorations such as crowns and bridges. The placement of dental implants (screw-in teeth) is also frequently undertaken by periodontists especially when aesthetics are paramount.

Healthy gums are a  foundation of a healthy mouth. It is estimated that 30% of the population are susceptible to advanced gum disease (periodontitis), and if left untreated, can lead to gradual and premature loss of teeth. A comprehensive periodontal assessment done early in life can identify if you are susceptible to periodontitis. Like most medical issues, the earlier you are diagnosed, the simpler the management and better the long term outcome.  

Referral to a periodontist is usually via your general dentist, with whom they liaise closely to ensure a healthy and functioning periodontium.

Some are blessed with the

perfect smile!

Others may need a little help from the following…

The Dental Specialties

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons (OMS or OMFS) specialise in treating diseases, injuries and defects in the head and neck, including the hard and soft tissues of the oral (mouth) and maxillofacial (jaws and face) region.

Please note: These ‘smart cookies’ do not only take out wisdom teeth!

OMF surgeons manage and treat problems ranging from the removal of impacted teeth to the repair of facial trauma. They have extensive training in both the dental and medical fields, being qualified dentists and medical doctors. On average it takes about 14 years of tertiary education to become a Surgical Specialist. 

The scope of the specialty is broad and includes the diagnosis and management of facial injuries, salivary gland diseases, facial disproportion, facial pain, impacted teeth, cysts and tumours of the jaws and numerous other problems such as:

  • Head and neck cancer, access to and removal of tumours within the depths of the complex cranio-facial anatomy, including neck dissections.
  • Reconstructive surgery and management of complex cranio-facial fractures after trauma and soft tissue injuries of the mouth, face, and neck.
  • TMJ (jaw joint) surgery and correction of facial disproportion (e.g. pre-braces).
  • Pre-implant surgery, including the use of implants to retain facial or dental prostheses and associated bone grafting techniques as part of oro-facial reconstruction.
  • Removal of impacted teeth and complex buried dental roots, cysts and management of infections.
  • Primary and secondary surgery for cleft lip and palate, and other congenital facial deformities.
  • Management of benign and malignant lesions of the salivary glands and removal of complex skin tumours with facial reconstruction.
  • Cosmetic surgery including face-lifts, eyelid and brow surgery and rhinoplasties (nose-jobs!).

Due to the nature of the work, oral and maxillofacial surgeons often work alongside a variety of specialists in other fields such as Ear Nose & Throat (ENT) surgeons, clinical oncologists, plastic surgeons, orthodontists, restorative dentists, radiologists and neurosurgeons.

As you will see (if you look at the number of letters after their name!) they are extremely well-qualified individuals. If you should require their skills, please rest assured that you are in good hands!

Orthodontics (Braces)

Orthodontic treatment deals with the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of problems associated with the growth and alignment of the teeth and jaws.

By the way, the word ‘orthodontics’ literally means ‘straight teeth’!

Orthodontists are registered Dental Specialists who have completed an additional three years of full-time University training in orthodontics, facial growth and development, biology and biomechanics, after their 5 year General Dental Degree.

Orthodontists are facial growth and dental development experts. They diagnose and treat crooked teeth, bad bites and poorly aligned jaws in children of all ages and more commonly these days also adults who perhaps did not have the opportunity for braces when they were younger.

Treatment involves the design and use of corrective appliances, such as braces, expanders, headgear, functional appliances and even surgery (in conjunction with oral-maxillofacial surgeons), to bring the teeth and jaws into an improved alignment with the facial structures.

In addition to achieving a beautiful, natural smile, there are also important functional reasons why people may need to see an Orthodontic Specialist:

  • Correct misalignments that cause your teeth to wear unevenly or break easily.
  • Make your teeth easier to clean effectively, preventing other dental problems.
  • Create a comfortable bite with reduced wear and tear on tooth enamel and jaws joints.

Both dentists and orthodontists play a valuable role in keeping your teeth healthy and looking good. We work together to achieve optimal results for you and your children. Although a referral from a dentist is not required for you to be seen by an orthodontist, it is always a good idea to first see your family dentist for a check-up. They will be able to refer to a Specialist Orthodontist that they have a good working relationship with. It is also advisable that you keep up regular checks with your general dentist during any orthodontic treatment, as we need to check your oral hygiene is up to scratch!

While orthodontics is primarily about ensuring that teeth line up where they should, it’s also about giving patients the opportunity to look and feel their best!

Paedodontics (Kid’s Dentistry)

Paedodontics is the branch of dentistry that is concerned with preventive and therapeutic oral health care for children, from birth through to adolescence.

Paedodontists (or Paediatric Dental Specialists) must have completed at least three years of additional study after their general dentistry degree at an accredited University and, concurrently at various hospitals. They specialise in provision of advanced dental care for infants, toddlers, pre-schoolers, school-aged children and adolescents.

A Paedodontist has extensive knowledge about child behaviour management, and knowledge of the most up-to-date treatment and preventive modalities in the field of children’s dentistry. They use specialised techniques for managing anxious andor young children including using special approaches for administering local analgesia (injections) and dental sedation. They also can provide dental treatment under general anaesthesia (whilst sleeping) – the patient, not the dentist I must add!  Other skills include:

  • Treatment of children who have medical, physical and intellectual conditions including those with behavioural challenges such as Autism and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
  • Management of children with complex treatment needs or extensive decay.
  • Liaising with doctors, paediatricians, nurses and other allied health professionals as well as teachers and child care workers to help ensure that children have the best dental health possible.

Paedodontists are happy to see children from birth for a variety of neonatal oral conditions, checking oral and facial growth and development, eruption of teeth and providing early advice on prevention. It is well recognised that dental health has significant impacts on general health, and paedodontists understand the importance of developing an oral health care plan, that is also tailored to your child’s future needs.

In a nutshell, paedodontists get on well with kids! They will enable your child to cope with their treatment and ensure he or she will be happy to visit the dentist in the years to come!

Oral Medicine (Lumps, Bumps & Pain)

Oral Medicine is a specialist branch of dentistry concerned with the diagnosis, prevention and predominantly, non-surgical management, of medically-related disorders and conditions affecting the oral (mouth) and maxillofacial (jaws and face) region.

That was a mouthful!

An Oral Medicine Specialist commonly diagnoses and manages oral mucosal disease (ulcers and lumps) and orofacial pain (neuralgia), as well as the oral health care of medically complex patients.

After a 5 year dental degree and a minimum 2 years in general dental practice, prospective specialists then need to complete an additional training of no less than 3 years, full-time duration at an accredited training program in Oral Medicine. Many also possess Master Degrees in other sciences such as Pathology. 

They provide expert diagnostics, advice and management for:

  • Chronic (long standing) facial pain,
  • Oral mucosal disorders like ulceration or infections which can be chronic or acute (painful). 
  • Sleep disorders and snoring (pseudo marriage guidance!).
  • Tempero-mandibular (jaw joint) disorders.
  • Appliances to prevent effects of bruxism (grinding and wear of teeth).
  • Wear and erosion of dental tissues.
  • Complex multi-pharmacological cases (patients on many medications) which can have serious implications for routine dental care of the patient.

Your dentist may refer you to an Oral Medicine Specialist for an opinion of any suspect lesion found at a routine check-up. These referrals are usually precautionary but you are well advised to attend, just to make sure they are not sinister. Please do not ignore any sore spot or ulcer that hangs around for more than a few weeks – get it checked out!

Prosthodontics (Cosmetic Dentistry)

Prosthodontics is the specialty dealing with replacement or repair of teeth with artificial devices such as crowns, veneers, bridges, dentures or dental implants, in order to achieve comfort, aesthetics and functionality.

Put simply it involves rebuilding your smile to the best possible aesthetics, function and health.

To become a board-registered Specialist Prosthodontist, after graduating as a qualified dentist, they must undertake further full-time training in a 3 year University Master’s Degree programme, which involves further study in all facets of dentistry.

Prosthodontists are experts in the fields of:

  • Fixed prosthodontics (crowns, bridges and veneers), both tooth and implant supported.
  • Implant restorations (“screw-in teeth”)
  • Complete and partial removable prosthodontics (dentures).
  • Dental materials and hypersensitivities.
  • Dento-facial trauma and rehabilitation following corrective jaw surgery.
  • Management of congenital (birth) and developmental defects of the teeth and jaws.
  • Complex full mouth rehabilitation.

A prosthodontist’s expertise is commonly sought in situations where a patient has multidisciplinary needs, that is, treatment requiring the care of several dental specialists or if the patient has complex or challenging aesthetic requirements.

Also, when a patient’s functionality is severely compromised by trauma, cancer surgery or defects such as a cleft palate, comprehensive reconstructive dentistry is often required for the restoration of aesthetics and functionality to the patient not only for the present time, but also the future.

If you have been referred by your general dentist or other medical specialist for prosthodontic services, it is because your regular trusted practitioner has your best interest at heart and wants to ensure you receive the best possible care to solve your problem.

Endodontics (Root Canals)

Endodontics is a highly complex area of dental practice involving the diagnosis, prevention and treatment, of diseases of the dental pulp.

Commonly known as the dreaded “Root Canal Treatment”

Endodontists first gain a dental degree which is generally five years of training. They then spend a minimum of two years in general practice to hone their skills, before commencing their 3 year post graduate specialist full-time academic and clinical training, including:

  • Diagnosis of an inflamed or infected tooth and supporting structures.
  • Uses of anaesthesia and pain control.
  • Use of surgical microscopes.
  • Management of dental trauma.
  • Advanced techniques to clean, shape and fill the inside of the tooth to make it disease free and functional again.
  • Endodontic microsurgery (called an apicectomy) to remove diseased tissues surrounding an infected tooth.

If an infected tooth is left untreated it can cause pain and develop an abscess and also bone loss around it. Endodontic treatment gives you an opportunity to retain teeth that would otherwise have to be removed because of this disease or infection.

All dentists are trained to perform endodontic treatment. However, not all “root canal treatments” are the same. A dentist will often refer to an Specialist when a case or tooth is too complex to manage in a general practice setting. This ensures the patients receive expert treatment and the best possible outcome.

Periodontics (Gums)

Periodontics is the specialty area of dentistry that manages the diseases and conditions that affect the supporting structures of teeth.

i.e. the bits that hold your teeth in your mouth! 

The supporting tissues are known as the periodontium, and include the gingiva (gums), alveolar bone around the teeth, cementum, and the periodontal ligament.

A  person who practices this specialty is known as a Periodontist, who, after a 5 year Dental Degree and a minimum 2 years in general dental practice, needs to complete an additional 3 years of University based training before qualifying as a specialist. 

A periodontist provides a comprehensive range of diagnostic, non-surgical and surgical services aimed at improving your periodontal health. Pre-prosthetic surgery can be provided to improve aesthetics and function of restorations such as crowns and bridges. The placement of dental implants (screw-in teeth) is also frequently undertaken by periodontists especially when aesthetics are paramount.

Healthy gums are a  foundation of a healthy mouth. It is estimated that 30% of the population are susceptible to advanced gum disease (periodontitis), and if left untreated, can lead to gradual and premature loss of teeth. A comprehensive periodontal assessment done early in life can identify if you are susceptible to periodontitis. Like most medical issues, the earlier you are diagnosed, the simpler the management and better the long term outcome.  

Referral to a periodontist is usually via your general dentist, with whom they liaise closely to ensure a healthy and functioning periodontium.

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