Medical specialists are experts in their areas of medicine. You are often referred to a medical specialist when you have a health condition that is beyond the scope of knowledge of your primary care physician. When it comes to dental work, however, it can be difficult to know if a regular family dentist visit is sufficient or if a visit to a periodontist is warranted. Periodontists are experts in dental inflammation conditions. The most common chronic dental conditions are listed below.
Wisdom tooth pain
Most people are born with at least a couple of wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth, however, are not needed. Instead, they actually crowd the mouth and cause unnecessary pain. They usually first emerge in late teenage to early adult years. Once they are identified, the family dentist will generally recommend that they are pulled. They may be pulled to prevent overcrowding, spacing, and dental infections. These concerns are very common, because the wisdom teeth do not usually grow in the same way as regular teeth do. Your family dentist may decide to pull the wisdom teeth in the office or they may refer out to a periodontist.
Dental cavities are perhaps, the most common dental problem. Dental cavities are caused by poor dental hygiene or a diet that consists of a lot of caffeine and sugar. Because dental cavities are so common, they are generally handled by the family dentist. They can be filled within minutes and the dental patient can be on their way home. A person who avoids the dentist for many years may have a large number of cavities and may have to schedule frequent dental fillings to take care of them all.
Chronic facial pain treatment
Chronic facial pain is a little more difficult to diagnose and usually requires specialist dental care. The patient may not even realize that their chronic facial pain is coming from the mouth. They may visit numerous primary physician specialists before being referred to a periodontist. Even once referred to a periodontist, they may have to go through numerous tests to diagnose the problem. Chronic facial pain can be caused by overcrowding of the teeth, excessive spacing, chronic cavities, TMJ, or inflammation. When the problem is caused by inflammation or TMJ, the periodontist will provide treatment.
TMJ may be more common than we think. Currently, about 35 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with TMJ. Of these people, about 95% are women. However, it is currently not know why more women than men experience TMJ symptoms, but it is believed that it may be due to the facial and dental structure. Fortunately, there are a variety of facial pain management options that show success in relieving chronic pain.
Sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous medical condition. The successful treatment of sleep apnea usually requires a qualified team of medical professionals. Your regular physician will also work with you on diagnosing and treating the symptoms that are associated with sleep apnea. Your dental specialist may also be involved because of the common co occurring medical problems. According to a study published in the Journal of Dental Research, participants who had obstructive sleep apnea symptoms experienced a 73% higher rate of TMD (temporomandibular disorder) symptoms. Untreated sleep apnea symptoms can lead to seizures, heart disorders, and even death. Your regular physician will work with your cosmetic dentist on ensuring that all treatment options are considered.
There are many health conditions that are associated with dental health. It may be difficult to decide which type of medical professional to see, especially when you are unable to tell if the pain is caused by the mouth or another part of the body. In some cases, pain may be common and caused by multiple parts of the body. Understanding the most common dental problems and how to treat them is helpful in knowing which type of medical professional to see.