1) Do I need to be referred by a general dentist to be seen in your office?
No. While many of our patients are indeed referred by the many general dentists in our community and surrounding communities, it is not necessary. You may choose to come to us at any time. One of the best compliments we receive is when our patients refer their friends and family members to us. In cases where you do not have a general dentist, we will refer you to a general dentist that we feel will best suit your personality and needs.
2) Why do I need to see a periodontist? My family dentist should be able to provide this treatment for me.
All general dentists have had training in treating mild or early forms of periodontal disease, however, there are many situations where a specialist is indicated, including when a patient has moderate or severe forms of periodontal disease, needs an implant, or needs periodontal plastic surgery. A periodontist has received three years of additional training after dental school to be able to perform the procedures common in periodontics. Now, more than ever, periodontal care by a specialist is especially important, considering the links of periodontal disease to systemic disease. Your periodontist will work closely with your general dentist and your physician(s) if needed to provide you with the best care overall.
3) "Why should I see Dr. Berube for my periodontal and dental implant needs?"
As a periodontist, Dr. Berube completed three years of additional postdoctoral training in the art of tissue management and placement of dental implants, along with being board certified. Because she performs these procedures daily, she is in a position to understand and respect the complexities of dental surgery including, but not limited to, dental implant placement, dental extractions, bone grafting, sinus grafting, and soft tissue management. Dr. Berube is very meticulous and gentle during the procedures, which greatly improves the patient’s experience during the procedure and also reduces postoperative pain.
4) Why do I need to be referred to a specialist?
As a dental specialist, 90% of my patients are referrals from within the field, mainly general dentists and other dental specialists. There are mixed reactions from these patients when they enter my office, however, the common thread is that they are scared, and sometimes they don't really understand why they are there. Another common comment is that the patient doesn't understand why their dentist needed to refer the patient out of their office.
Patients often ask "Why couldn't they do this treatment themselves"? All dentists have had the same basic dental school training, followed by a certain amount of continuing education. There are so many fields within the practice of dentistry, that there are a need for specialists that dedicate their practices to placing braces, performing root canals, placing implants, performing gum surgery, etc. When your general dentist states that your particular condition is such that you need to see a specialist, this is a good thing. What???? We know you are asking yourself "what are they talking about?" Bear with us here. A dentist that routinely uses dental specialists is being extremely diligent and is only thinking about what is in your best interests. When he/she realizes that the problem would be better treated by someone who only treats those issues, they are being extremely wise. Let's put this into perspective. You may go see your medical doctor and they can safely treat many medical issues. But if they come across a more involved health scenario, such as a heart condition, they will automatically refer you to a cardiologist or vascular surgeon. Again, this is a good thing! They are realizing who will be best to treat you. They are putting aside their egos and their thoughts of treatment dollars going somewhere else. They are genuinely doing what is best for you. It is the same thing with dentists referring to dental specialists. At the end of the day, it is what is best for the patient that matters.
Patients often ask "Wow. My condition must be extremely complicated if they have referred me to a specialist". This may or may not be the case. The reason we say this is that a lot of patients assume that because of the referral, the treatment will be extremely expensive and painful. While no one enjoys seeing a dentist, for your health and function, it is necessary. We have come a long way in dentistry and our goal is to create a relaxed enough environment that you no longer have such a morbid fear of dental work.
We also note that many patients are indeed referred to a specialist, but won't go because they won't leave the general dentist's office. While that is a great compliment to the general dentist, it also places them in a difficult position. Again, they are trying to have you receive the best of both worlds, and sometimes, that means coordination between one or more different types of dental professionals. This is not a bad thing.
So, if your general dentist refers you to a specialist, please take the time to thank them. They have your best interests at heart and it should confirm why you placed your trust in them to begin with!