In many cases, dentists are seen more frequently than primary care physicians. During these visits, most patients expect that the dentist is competent at performing all required procedures effectively. However, this is not necessarily the case.
As most general physicians are trained in a variety of examination and treatment techniques, so are dentists. Though, it is not uncommon that a dentist performs a specialist procedure when medically this would have been referred to a specialist.
What does this mean for me?
Just because your dentist is not a specialist does not mean they haven't received the necessary training and experience, but it is common for this to be the case. Many states do not monitor dental professionals as they do medical providers and therefore many perform surgeries, orthodontic work, and other procedures that may be better left to specialists. Additionally, most patients do not think to ask their dentist about training, residencies, and certifications that may be pertinent to their oral care.
What can I do?
1) Ask your dental professional where they were educated and in what, if any, specialties they were trained to handle.
2) Ask the dental care provider if they have experience or residencies in specific techniques such as pediatric dental, orthodontics, or oral surgery.
3) If there is a question, concern, or you receive an ambiguous answer, do more research or seek out another qualified provider.
It is entirely within your right to know that your dental professional is qualified to perform the required work.