It’s a Medical branch that focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases, injuries, and conditions of the oral cavity (inside the mouth). Dentistry is defined as the medical and surgical science dealing with the diagnosis, prevention, and cure of diseases and malformations of the oral cavity, pharynx, and larynx, including associated structures. This branch of medicine was once considered one of the three “king” specialties (with internal medicine and surgery). However, with the rapid increase in the practice of dentistry, many dentists have decided to specialize in particular aspects of the discipline.
What is a General Dentist?
They’re the one health care provider who you see more than anyone else. Many people prefer their general dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings, but there are some dental procedures that require more specialized training and may require a referral from a specialist. Dentistry is all about preventing dental disease. That’s why it’s important to have a good relationship with your dentist, who can help you stay ahead of the disease curve. Many dental procedures are both diagnostic and preventative.
They help diagnose potential problems, while also helping to prevent diseases and tooth decay in the future. General dentists help people stay healthy by making sure they brush and floss regularly and that they are using the right dental products to keep their teeth and gums healthy. If not treated, these conditions eventually become painful and may lead to a loss of work, school, or even limb function. The cost of treating them is estimated to be billions of dollars each year.
Types of general dentistry:
There are two main types of dentistry –
- Dental caries (also called dental decay)
- Periodontal disease
Dental caries are also known as tooth decay or tooth decay. It is an infection of the teeth. When you eat, sugars in the food stick to the surface of the teeth. The bacteria that cause this infection are usually found in your mouth. If not treated quickly, it can lead to serious problems in your mouth, such as tooth loss.
Periodontal disease is caused by plaque, which is a sticky, slimy film of bacteria and food particles that collect on the teeth, gum line, and around the spaces between teeth. This film gradually builds up and causes the gums to recede and become loose. If left untreated, this condition will lead to periodontitis and eventually cause tooth loss.
The other common types of dentistry are cosmetic dentistry and restorative dentistry.
Cosmetic dentistry is the practice of dentistry that is used to improve or enhance the appearance of a person’s smile, including teeth color, shape, size, and alignment.
Surprisingly, dental implants and orthodontics (braces) are also considered forms of dentistry, but those are discussed under their own headings. Dentists specialize in the different aspects of dentistry. They can be general dentists, cosmetic dentists, oral surgeons, orthodontists, endodontists, prosthodontists, pediatric dentists or maxillofacial (oral-facial) surgeons.
There are also other specialists in the field such as periodontists or oral pathologists. The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) defines a specialist as follows: “A specialist is a physician who has completed additional training beyond residency and fellowship, and has acquired a level of expertise in a particular area of medicine that allows for a greater scope of practice than that of an advanced trainee.
General Dentist: Experience and Training
In order to become a dentist, you need to have a Bachelor’s degree in dentistry (or its equivalent). You must then pass the National Board Dental Examination (also called the dental licensing exam), which can be taken at different times in your life. After passing this exam, you may then go on to complete an accredited dental program that will give you an understanding of the different types of dental procedures and treatments.
The accredited dental programs are usually six years long and require approximately 100 hours of classroom instruction. The classes are focused on a variety of subjects including medical terminology, anatomy, microbiology, human biology, pathology, pharmacology, chemistry, physics, dentistry, dental materials, dental treatment planning, and general dentistry.
In addition, you will need to perform patient examinations, carry out clinical procedures, prepare patients for surgery or treatments, as well as carry out diagnostic procedures. Some programs also include laboratory work and an oral surgery course. Dentists who have completed the accredited dental programs can apply to become registered with the American Dental Association (ADA). After being registered with the ADA, they are able to practice in any state in the country.
What Do General Dentists Do?
A dentist’s scope of practice is broad. The ADA has a list of some of the common procedures performed by general dentists, but you can expect your dentist to do all of the following, depending on their specialty.
Cleaning and scaling: This is the most common procedure that general dentists perform. It involves removing plaque, tartar, and calculus from the teeth using a special tool called a dental scaler. Some dental practitioners also use a high-speed handpiece to remove plaque and tartar. The tools used for scaling must be sterilized and should be used only once before they are cleaned and re-used.
Checking the bite: This procedure checks to make sure that the bite or alignment of the teeth is not broken. If there are any issues with the bite or alignment of the teeth, the dentist may recommend braces or other orthodontic treatments.
Checking the gum line: Dentists will check the gum line to ensure that there are no issues with the gums and that they are free from decay and infection. They may also look at the area to see if there is a need for scaling, probing, or root planing.
Filling cavities: This is one of the most common procedures performed by a general dentist. Cavities can occur when food particles and bacteria become trapped between the tooth and the filling.
Moreover, they can be caused by factors like genetics or injuries to the teeth. When a cavity occurs, it is essential that the dentist fill it with dental filling material like amalgam or composite resin.
Extractions: This is another common procedure. If you have an impacted wisdom tooth or a tooth that has been damaged or decayed, your dentist may suggest the removal of the tooth. It is important to note that a dentist will not extract every tooth that needs to come out, as this would be extremely costly and could potentially harm your dental health.
Polishing: Dentists use special dental polishing tools to remove stains, surface imperfections, and damage to the teeth caused by drinking, smoking, or other factors. They may also polish their teeth in order to brighten their appearance.
Preventative care: As part of their practice, dentists should be able to perform routine checkups, cleanings, and preventative procedures to ensure that your oral health is maintained at its best.
Periodontal treatment: This is when your dentist performs treatments to address issues like gum disease or gum recession. These issues can cause problems with your bite and the alignment of the teeth.
Root canals: This is when a dentist removes decaying or infected tissues from the root canal of a tooth. A dentist will then seal the root canal with a filling material to stop any further infections.
Air Abrasion: This procedure uses a handpiece to remove decay and tartar from the tooth surface. The handpiece is designed to produce tiny abrasive particles and can be used for all types of tooth surfaces, including incisors, canines, premolars, and molars.
Teeth whitening: Teeth whitening can be performed on patients of all ages and both genders. It involves applying an over-the-counter whitening product to the teeth in order to lighten their color. It can also be combined with other procedures like teeth whitening to make the process faster and more effective.
Bridges: A dentist may perform a dental bridge if a patient has lost one or more teeth due to tooth decay or trauma. This procedure allows them to restore their teeth with artificial teeth that are securely attached to a dental crown. A dentist will build a custom bridge by attaching a number of porcelain teeth to a metal framework.
Dentures: Dentures can be used as an alternative to missing teeth. They can either be permanent or removable. Permanent dentures are built into the gum tissue and are made of metal or acrylic. They are meant to replace all of the teeth in one’s mouth. However, they cannot be removed like a removable denture. Removable dentures can be placed in the mouth and then removed at any time.
Fluoride treatments: This is a procedure that involves applying a fluoride-based gel to the teeth in order to protect the tooth enamel. The gel is then rinsed from the teeth, which leaves them feeling clean and healthy. It can also be combined with other procedures like bleaching to make the process faster and more effective.
Crowns: Crowns are used when a tooth is damaged or decayed. They are built on top of the tooth and are usually made of porcelain, ceramic, or composite resin. A crown is a cap-like covering that is designed to cover and restore damaged or missing teeth. This can be done by the dentist or a dental lab. Dentists can build a crown by bonding it to the tooth in order to restore its appearance and function. Crowns come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be used to repair cracked or chipped teeth.
Fillings: A filling is a thin piece of material that is placed in a hole or cavity to seal it off. These are commonly used to treat a tooth that is broken, chipped, or has an area that is infected. is a cap-like covering that is designed to fill any voids or cavities that may have developed in a tooth. They are made of amalgam, composite resin, or glass ionomer cement, depending on the tooth. A dentist will place a filling material inside the tooth in order to stop further decay and infections from occurring.
Sealants: Dental sealants are a safe and effective way to prevent cavities. They are applied to the chewing surfaces of the front teeth, which include the pits and fissures of the teeth. Sealant is a tooth-colored material that is applied to the teeth and sticks to the surface of the teeth. Once it is applied, the patient will be required to brush their teeth for 30 minutes twice a day. They are also recommended for children ages 6 and under.
Dentures: These are a form of dental restoration that is worn in the mouth to replace missing teeth. They can either be removable or permanent and are made of metal, acrylic, or porcelain. Removable dentures can be removed in order to clean them or remove food particles and bacteria. They can be made to look like a natural tooth or can be modified to fit the patient’s face.
Nightguards: Nightguards are custom-made for each patient and are placed in the mouth in order to protect their teeth while they sleep. They are made to fit snugly over the teeth and are usually placed during the first visit to the dentist. This will ensure that the patient does not move the nightguard while sleeping or while it is being brushed.
Sports Mouthguards: Mouthguards are often used by athletes to protect their teeth from damage that occurs from repeated blows to their mouths, such as a hockey puck or football. They are made of flexible materials that conform to the shape of the mouth and provide an effective barrier to injury. These can be made of latex, vinyl, plastic, nylon, leather, or foam. The material is then shaped into a cup-like shape that covers the mouth and teeth. They can either be custom-fitted to each patient or they can be purchased pre-made at the dentist’s office.
Teeth cleanings are an important part of regular dental care. At this appointment, the dentist will use a small brush to remove the food debris and bacteria from between the teeth. The dentist will also look for signs of infection in the gums and any other damage to the tooth. It is recommended that patients schedule regular cleanings in order to remove harmful bacteria and remove excess food particles from the teeth. Patients will be required to brush their teeth for one minute twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, which contains the right combination of chemicals for proper cleaning. The dentist will then use a special cleaner and an ultrasonic tool that will remove any remaining plaque and debris.
TMD Therapy (Jaw Pain):
The temporomandibular joint is the space in the jaw where the lower and upper jawbone comes together. It is the place where your jaw muscles meet. The temporomandibular joint also contains two small bones called the condyles, which sit on either side of the opening in the skull, called the foramen magnum. When these small bones move, they rub against the head of the mandible bone, which makes this area feel tender to the touch.
In some cases, the patient may experience jaw pain if the condyles are not aligned properly. If this is the case, it is referred to as Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD). TMD therapy involves a combination of physical and medical treatments. Physical treatments include exercises, heat application, and massage to help relieve pain and discomfort. Medical treatments include medication, muscle relaxants, oral appliances, and occlusal splints. Patients who experience severe pain may be referred to a specialist such as a physical therapist or an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
Finding the Right General Dentist :
There are many factors that go into choosing a dentist. While all dentists are trained in the same way, there are some differences between them.
Dental insurance companies prefer to see dentists that specialize in a certain area, as they can offer the best care. Specializing is often important when the dentist treats kids, seniors, or patients with special needs. This is because some dental problems may require additional equipment, tools, or different techniques.
Dentists may also have special training in one area of dentistry. For example, some dentists have a degree in orthodontics and some have a degree in prosthodontics, which is the field of dentistry that deals with the replacement of missing teeth.
Another key factor to look at when choosing a dentist is their staff. If the dentist does not have a clean, friendly, and helpful staff, it is probably not a good place for you to go to get your teeth cleaned. It is important to remember that your smile is the first thing people will notice about you.