To restore a smile, Dentists often need to refer their Patients to Specialists such as Periodontists and Endodontists. These two types of Doctors are charged with making sure the underlying health and condition of the gums and teeth, respectively, are sound.
A Periodontist will focus on your gums, making sure there is enough natural material to support healthy teeth. Sometimes, gum grafts are required to replace shrinking gums. There are several procedures, some using laser therapy and others more traditional therapy of harvesting grafts from the roof of the mouth or other places the Doctor deems appropriate.
Endodontists are focused mainly on root canals. This procedure allows a natural tooth to remain in the mouth, and once the damaged part of the tooth and exposed nerves are treated, a crown can be placed to prevent further decay. Bacteria can be very invasive and it is possible a tooth that receives root canal treatment may develop issues later and require the Patient undergo the treatment again. Root canals are not known to be fun the first time, and they certainly do not become more pleasurable the second time around; unfortunately, the other option in these cases is extraction, so it becomes an easier choice for most people.