Dental Specialties

Over the course of our 15+ years in practice, Higson Dental Group has had the good fortune to establish strong working relationships with several of Northern Alberta’s premier dental specialists.  When treatment is indicated on your behalf which is beyond the scope of our practice, we will refer you to the appropriate dental specialist to ensure you recieve the best dental care available.

What is an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon (OMS)?

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are dentists specializing in surgery of the mouth, face and jaws. After four years of dental school, surgeons receive four to seven years of hospital-based surgical and medical training, preparing them to do a wide range of procedures including all types of surgery of both the bones and soft tissues of the face, mouth and neck.

At Higson Dental  Group, we are proud to co-ordinate complex surgical treatment with Kingsway Oral Surgery.  Kingsway Oral Surgery is the pre-eminent dental surgery practice in the Edmonton area, and they have also established a satellite practice in Grande Prairie to serve area patients.


What is a Periodontist?

Periodontists are dentists who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal (gum) disease. They have had extensive training with two additional years of study after dental school. As specialists, they devote their time, energy and skill to helping patients care for their gums. A periodontist is one of the eight dental specialists recognized by the Canadian Dental Association.

Why is your dentist referring you to a Periodontist?

Your dentist has determined that your gums require special attention. The periodontist and dentist work together as a team to provide you with the highest level of care. They will combine their experience to recommend the best treatment available to you while keeping each other informed on your progress. By referring you to the specialist, your dentist is showing a strong commitment to your dental health.

As the foundation of our practice, we treat several patients with advanced periodontal disease.  When we are unable to arrest the advance of the disease by non-surgical means, we will recommend referral to one of a small group of periodontists in Edmonton.  Most often, this involves a referral to the practice of Dr. Jim MacDonald, past-president of the Canadian Academy of Periodontology.

What is an Endodontist?

The Endodontist examines, diagnoses and treats diseases and destructive processes, including injuries and abnormalities of dental pulps and periapical tissues of the teeth.

Endodontists examine patients and interpret radiographs and pulp tests to determine pulp vitality and periapical tissue condition. They evaluate their findings and prescribe a method of treatment to prevent loss of teeth.

At Higson Dental Group, we complete a wide range of endodontic treatment in our practice.  Nonetheless, there are times when the experience and advanced clinical skill of an endodontist are best employed for our patients’ best dental care.  In these situations, we are very comfortable referring our patients to Dr. Carol Layton in downtown Edmonton.



What is a Prosthodontist?

The prosthodontist examines and diagnoses disabilities caused by loss of teeth and supporting structures. They formulate and execute treatment plans for the construction of corrective prostheses to restore proper function and esthetics of the mouth, face, and jaw.

The most common indication in our practice for referral to a prosthodontist is full mouth reconstruction, whereby several or even all of the teeth are replaced or restored to restore function and esthetics.  This is well beyond the training and scope of practice for most general dentists.  These patients, or any others we feel would benefit from the additional experience and expertise of a prosthodontist, are referred to Dr. Keith Compton in Edmonton.  Dr. Compton was raised in Grande Prairie, and practiced general dentistry here before continuing his dental education to become a prosthodontist.


What is a Pediatric Dentist?

A pediatric dentist has at least two additional years of training beyond dental school. The additional training focuses on management and treatment of a child’s developing teeth, child behavior, physical growth and development, and the special needs of children’s dentistry. Although either type of dentist is capable of addressing your child’s oral health care needs, a pediatric dentist, his or her staff, and even the office décor are all geared to care for children and to put them at ease. If your child has special needs, care from a pediatric dentist should be considered.

Currently, the Grande Prairie practice of Dr. James Lipon has been handling most of the pediatric dentistry case load in the area.  While not a pediatric specialist, Dr. Lipon’s practice is equipped with nitrous oxide and IV sedation facilities, along with the appropriate monitoring equipment for patients treated under all levels of sedation.  His practice also currently has most of the operating room time assigned for dental services at the Queen Elizabeth II hospital in Grande Prairie.  Although this practice is currently in a state of transition, we continue to refer to them due to their high level of patient care, and as a matter of convenience for our patients.


What is an Orthodontist?

An orthodontist prevents and treats mouth, teeth, and jaw problems. Using braces, retainers, and other devices, an orthodontist helps straighten a person’s teeth and correct the way the jaws line up.

Orthodontists treat both children and adults for many problems, including having crowded or overlapping teeth or having problems with jaw growth and tooth development. These tooth and jaw problems may be caused by tooth decay, losing baby teeth too soon, accidents, or habits like thumb sucking. These problems can also be genetic or inherited.

So why would you go to the orthodontist?

Your dentist or one of your parents might recommend it because they see a problem with your teeth or jaws. Or a patient who doesn’t like the way his or her teeth look might also ask to see an orthodontist.

We are fortunate in Grande Prairie to have several orthodontic practices, and we refer to each of them with confidence.