The word surgery is used to describe the treatment of a medical disorder or injury through the use of incision and manipulation, and with this term in mind, it is clear that nearly every type of dentist is a dental surgeon. There is some confusion among patients that these doctors have additional training or have studied a different branch of healthcare altogether, but this is not the case. Every specialist has a number of procedures that he or she can perform, though endodoontics, prosthodontics and orthodontics are the fields most likely to make use of incision and manipulation.
Endodontists are trained to maintain the tooth root and the tissues that support it. Because the root is located beneath the tooth and gum surface, the only way to perform a pulpotomy or pulpectomy is to cut through the tissue. Both of these procedures are typically done just prior to a root canal, and are both used to treat infection or alleviate pain or inflammation.
A prosthodontist performs a lot of dental surgeon procedures aimed at improving the aesthetics of a patient’s teeth. This may involve placing crowns, bridges, veneers, dentures or tooth implants. While all of these require a great deal of expertise to place correctly, implants in particular are highly involved. The doctor may need to create multiple incisions and alter the structure of the bone or sinuses to get the implant anchored correctly.
Orthodontics is the study of bite malfunctions and their treatment. This often means an orthodontist has to remove bone or tissue to set teeth correctly, and even when this is not necessary, they often have to perform tooth extractions or use their own implants to improve the look and function of the patient’s bite.