Bruce C. McArthur, DDS
6565 West Jewell Ave.
Lakewood, CO 80232
I often get patients who ask me why can’t I “do it all?” The question usually comes after I refer someone to a specialist for a complicated root canal, extraction, gum treatment, etc. Why can’t I just do all the procedures in my office – why do they have to go someplace else?
Why do some surgeons specialize in hand surgery… or brain surgery? Why do some mechanics specialize in imported cars or domestic cars? The point of specializing is to do what you are best at, and by focusing on that procedure, you get even better at it!
General dentists are licensed to do any dental procedures… but they should only perform those procedures they feel competent doing. This usually translates into dentists doing what they enjoy the most, but that is because they are naturally better at it. So as the years go by, they refine techniques to do an ever better job of the procedures they do, and refer patients to specialists for some other procedures.
Specialists are dentists who have decided to focus on only one aspect of dentistry. They do only those procedures, and can develop an extra degree of expertise in those areas. So some specialize in surgery, some in gum treatments, some in root canal therapy, and so on.
Many general dentists, like me, will do many root canal treatments, but if a case presents one or more complicating factors, will refer that patient to an Endodontist (Root canal specialist). Some extractions may be done, but more complicated ones referred to an oral surgeon. What this does is make sure the specialists work hard! Ok, it also means they do mostly more difficult procedures, and they get very good at those more complex cases.
So if your dentist is referring you to a specialist, it is really in your very best interest. The specialist has the greatest expertise available in that area, and will often be able to do the procedure in less time than your general dentist. Let the specialist make it look easy!