Plenty of people visit with their general dentist more often than they do with their doctor. There is good reason for this difference in frequency of appointments. General dentistry is designed to prevent disease. It is estimated about 65 percent of dental procedures are diagnostic or preventive.
The Basics of General Dentists
General dentists provide dental care to individuals of all ages. They conduct routine examinations of the mouth, screen for oral cancer and perform myriad dental procedures. General dentists also advise patients of oral health habits, answer questions, address concerns and help patients every step of the way toward a healthier mouth.
General Dentists’ Qualifications
General dentists are highly educated professionals. These individuals complete their undergraduate degree as well as four additional years at an accredited dental school. Dentists must also adhere to the requirements of the state’s licensing board. Some dentists take their training a step further by specializing in a specific area of dentistry such as cosmetic procedures, dental implant placement or a certain therapy.
General Dentists’ Preventive Services
General dentists help patients maintain optimal oral health by identifying and stopping diseases before they harm the mouth. Dentists take regular exams such as x-rays of the patient’s mouth and perform regular teeth cleanings to prevent oral health problems. Some dentists provide patients with at-home oral hygiene solutions like whitening kits or sealants.
General Dentists’ Restorative Services
If the dentist finds an issue in a patient’s mouth, treatment can be fast-tracked to ensure the problem does not worsen. The most common and effective dental restoration is the removal of tooth decay and the placement of a filling in the area where the affected tooth once was. Dentists can also restore sites where dental trauma has occurred such as a knocked out tooth or a broken tooth. Dentists diagnose and treat tooth pain and gum disease. They provide solutions for missing teeth including dentures. Dentists also place crowns, apply bridgework, perform root canal therapy and add dental implants.
Some general dentists perform extensive cosmetic procedures in addition to those listed above. If you are dissatisfied with your smile for any reason, reach out to your dentist for assistance. Your dentist might be able to enhance your smile with teeth whitening, porcelain veneers, cosmetic bonding or a general smile makeover. Dentists can also assist with the treatment of sleep apnea, provide advice on tobacco cessation and possibly even provide nutritional counseling.
When Should You Schedule a Visit With a Dentist?
Most general dentists encourage patients to visit at least once every six months. If you have any sort of concern about your oral health, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with the dentist. The nuances of your mouth might dictate a higher frequency of visits. Adhere to the specific treatment intervals as dictated by your unique appointment schedule to maintain a clean, fresh and functional mouth.