Dentists: Generalists V. Specialists


Many of us have fond (and not so fond) memories of going to their local family dentist and getting their teeth cleaned and cavities filled. Those family dentists would generally limit their practice to fillings, cleanings and other areas known as general dentistry. If there was a complicated problem those family/general dentists would refer you to an prosthodontist for bridge work, or an oral surgeon for tooth extraction and implant placement, or a periodontist for gum surgery.

Today, many general dentists call themselves “Cosmetic Dentists” and offer teeth whitening, implants, extractions, root canals, gum surgery and even braces. But are these dentists qualified to perform invasive procedures such as implants and gum surgery. The answer is generally NO. General Dentists go to dental school for four years and then go out and practice. Whereas dental specialists have post-graduate fellowships and may need to go to school an extra 3 to 4 years.
Many general dentists will tell you that they completed this course or that course and tout their expertise in a specialized area, however, you should be wary of these claims. Many of these programs are weekend long programs and are not accepted by the specialty accrediting agencies. General dentists do not have to be board certified and do not have the requisite knowledge to perform complicated dental work.
As a law firm that specializes in dental malpractice, we have had many cases involving general dentists who try to perform complicated dental procedures. These dentists may have state of the art equipmentand impressive offices but they do not have the knowledge to perform these procedures. Many patients unwittingly consent to these procedures by general dentists because they do not know better ortheirinsurance company limits their options. I have seen many examples of victims of terrible dental work by general dentists. These victims can suffer from permanent parasthesia, poor quality dental work that costs more to fix than to place into their mouths, terrible infections and countless hours of horrendous pain.
My advice to any prospective dental patients is this… if you have extraordinary dental work that needs to be done, consult with a dental specialist. They may cost you more money and your insurance may not cover their work but in the end you may save thousands of dollars in unnecessary dental work and years of pain and suffering.
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About the Author

Jason B. Kessler Attorney At Law is a full service law firm where attorneys with their extensive experience provide strong & Aggressive defense against Personal Injury cases.