In Ontario, General dentists can perform any number of dental procedures, as long as they are certified and have the required amount of training and experience. Referrals to specialists are necessary when the necessary treatment is outside of the dentist’s clinical skillset or the practice’s physical capabilities.  

Oral Surgeon Specialists (OMFS) typically perform complicated surgical procedures that General Dentists are not comfortable completing. Many patients prefer to have an Oral Surgeon Specialist perform any complicated oral surgery as they are qualified through certifications and education, and complete these treatments on a daily basis. However, many patients prefer to have all of their treatment done at their ‘home’ office by their General Dentist, who they trust. Ultimately, the General Dentist will decide if the treatment is something they are comfortable performing.

Here are three common treatments that General Dentists can perform that are sometimes referred to Dental Specialists:

1. Root canal therapy

This is a procedure that General Dentists perform on their patients and is necessary when the pulp of a tooth is infected. Without proper endodontic treatment, the tooth will be continue to become infected and need to be extracted. There are many different types of Root Canals and some may be more complicated than others depending on the anatomy of the tooth and the level of infection and decay involved.

Many General Dentists are comfortable performing Endodontic treatments such as Root Canals. However, your dentist must have the necessary equipment to perform the procedure and be comfortable with your specific Root Canal condition. If your General Dentist is not comfortable with the proposed treatment, or does not have the necessary equipment to perform the Root Canal, you may be referred to an Endodontist who specializes in Root Canal Therapy. 

2. Tooth extractions

Unfortunately, many people need to have a tooth extracted at some point in their life. Most commonly, Wisdom Teeth are often extracted during teenage years. Wisdom Teeth are often complicated to extract as they are typically crowded with other adult molars. For this reason, many General Dentists refer Wisdom Teeth Extractions to Oral Surgeon Specialists. The same goes for any tooth in your mouth that needs to be extracted. General Dentists will refer to a specialist if the complexity of the extraction is outside of their scope of practice. 

3. Dental implants

Dental Implants are a surgical procedure that many general dentists are qualified to perform. However, if any specific case is too difficult or risky for a General Dentist to perform, they will refer the case to an Oral Surgeon or Periodontist Specialist to perform the treatment. These specialists are educated and trained in this specific field of dentistry in order to perform more complex cases. 

Every dentist is different, and you need to discuss the types of procedures they perform and their individual limitations. You can schedule a consultation to discuss your concerns, and the dentist will perform a thorough evaluation to recommend the procedure that would be best for you. Your dentist will also be able to tell you if the proposed treatment is something they feel comfortable performing or if it were something they would refer to a specialist – such as an Oral Surgeon, Periodontist, or Endodontist. 

Our Dentists at Sarnia Dental Care will take the time to understand your needs and we will explain the necessary procedure in great detail so that you are fully aware of every step. We will monitor your oral health and provide you with treatment options to achieve your dream smile. If you are looking for a reputable dentist in Sarnia, contact us today for more information!