When it comes to dental care, you might wonder about the differences between a general dentist and an oral surgeon. Both professionals play crucial roles in maintaining your oral health, but they have distinctive areas of expertise. Knowing their differences is important if you are seeking dental care, as it can help you make informed decisions about your oral health.

This blog post highlights the differences between a general dentist and an oral surgeon and what you can expect from each provider.

General Dentist: Your First Line of Dental Care

A general dentist is the primary dental care provider that patients often see for routine check-ups and oral hygiene maintenance. 

They offer various services, including but not limited to:

1. Dental exams and teeth cleaning

2. Fluoride treatments and dental sealants

3. Cavity fillings

4. Diagnosing and treating gum disease (periodontal care)

5. Restorative procedures like crowns and bridges

6. Cosmetic treatments like teeth whitening and veneers

7. Root canals

8. Simple tooth extractions

9. Restoration of dental implants placed by the oral surgeon

General dentists often work with patients of all ages, from children to the elderly, focusing on preventative care and ensuring that oral health remains in top condition through patient education and regular dental visits. A general dentist can often address and resolve most dental issues their patients encounter.

Oral Surgeon: Specialist in Complex Dental Conditions and Procedures

Although general dentists are well-trained to handle various dental issues, certain complex dental conditions may require the expertise of an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. These specialized professionals receive additional education, training, and experience in performing more advanced dental and maxillofacial procedures.

Some of the services oral surgeons provide include:

1. Tooth extractions, especially wisdom teeth removal

2. Dental implants and associated bone grafting to restore ridge bone

3. Sedation or General Anesthesia for surgical procedures

4. Facial trauma and reconstructive surgery

5. Oral pathology and diagnosis of oral cancers

6. Surgical management of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders

7. Orthognathic surgery (Jaw surgery) for correcting abnormal bites and facial deformities

Oral surgeons often collaborate with general dentists and other dental specialists to provide comprehensive dental care and ensure a well-coordinated treatment plan. Patients with complex dental problems that affect functionality, aesthetics, and health benefit from the expertise of oral surgeons.

Navigating Your Dental Care with Confidence

The diverse skills and knowledge of general dentists and oral surgeons make them essential in providing comprehensive dental care. By understanding their differences and areas of expertise, you can confidently navigate your dental care journey and direct your concerns to the appropriate dental professionals.

If you’re unsure which dental professional to consult for your specific needs, you should start with a general dentist, who can diagnose your issue and refer you to an oral surgeon if necessary.

Our team of experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeons at AZ Max Oral Surgery is here to assist you with all your oral surgery needs. 

We provide the following services at our five locations:

Six oral surgeons work out of our Phoenix East Valley and Show Low offices.

  • Dr. R. Brinks Austin specializes in wisdom tooth removal, tooth extraction, sedation dentistry & anesthesia, oral diagnosis and biopsies, arthroscopy for TMJ dysfunction, bonding and bracketing of non-erupting teeth, and bone grafting.
  • Dr. Bradley Porter specializes in jaw reconstructive surgery, wisdom teeth removal, dental implants, diagnosing and treating oral pathology lesions, sedation dentistry and anesthesia, and tooth extractions.
  • Dr. Brent Boyse specializes in the placement of dental implants focusing on full arch treatments such as All-on-4®.
  • Dr. Greg Romney specializes in full arch restorations, wisdom teeth removal, tooth extraction, dental implants, bonding and bracketing of non-erupting teeth, bony pathology and bone grafting, sedation dentistry and anesthesia and All-On-4®.
  • Dr. Blake Porter specializes in third molar removal (wisdom teeth), bone grafts, and implants, including full mouth reconstruction, orthognathic surgery, arthrocentesis, biopsy and treatment of oral pathology.
  • Dr. DJ Lemieux specializes in third molar removal (wisdom teeth), bone grafts, and implants, including full mouth reconstruction, orthognathic surgery, arthrocentesis, biopsy, and treatment of oral pathology. 

If you are searching for an oral surgeon near me, visit AZ Max Oral Surgeons to see why we are the best oral surgeons in Mesa, AZ. To schedule an appointment with one of our skilled surgeons at one of our five locations, call or text (480) 830-5866 or complete the online booking form.