HQ: Health questions
The pros behind your pearly whites
Who does what in the world of oral health
General dentists oversee all aspects of
your oral health, from examining and
diagnosing dental problems or diseases
to recommending and performing
treatment. If the treatment is more
complex, they may refer you to one of the
dental specialists mentioned below.
Endodontists diagnose and treat the
nerves and blood supply of the teeth
when they have been injured or diseased;
their treatments include root canals.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons
diagnose and treat complex problems
related to the jaw and facial structures,
including extracting impacted teeth,
treating cysts and tumors, jaw
abnormalities and traumatic facial
Orthodontists diagnose and treat poor
bite and improperly positioned teeth
to improve the function and overall
appearance of teeth.
Pediatric dentists diagnose and treat
dental problems in children.
Periodontists diagnose and treat
diseases of the gums and supporting
structures and tissues, rescuing and
maintaining teeth that would otherwise
Prosthodontists diagnose and repair
badly broken-down teeth, as well as
missing teeth and structures, with
crowns, bridges, dentures and implants.
Part of their expertise is dental cosmetics.
Dental hygienists assess, diagnose,
plan, implement and evaluate dental
hygiene care to prevent diseases such as
cavities and periodontal (gum, ligament
and bone) disease. They may work with
dentists or oral health-care teams, or in
their own practice or community health
— Dawna Freeman
if you have a question for our “ask an
expert” column, sent it to apple.mag@
albertahealthservices.ca or call 403-943-2892.
Good oral health is a key part of
healthy living. Proper tooth and
gum care contributes to good
overall health, your personal
appearance, your confidence and your
ability to eat, speak and socialize.
You can reduce the risk of cavities and
gum disease by eating a balanced low-sugar diet, avoiding tobacco and drugs,
and brushing and flossing every day.
The Alberta Dental Association
and the College of Registered Dental
Hygienists also recommends an annual
dental check-up so problems can be
My oral health is
important to me,
but I’m not sure if I
need to see a dentist,
a dental hygienist,
an endodontist, an
orthodontist or a