Everyone, regardless of age, should see a general dentist regularly. This professional can have a powerful impact on your overall health as well as the health of your teeth. Oral health and general health share very close bonds. A tooth ache can hurt, but it can also indicate a problem that can become serious. You may not see it, but you could be suffering from a condition, disease or infection that could later affect other aspects of your wellbeing. The general dentist is trained to diagnose and treat problems originating in the mouth, teeth, gums and related areas of the human body.
Along with the treatment of existing problems, your general dentist is also trained to help prevent problems before they have a chance to form. That is why most individuals visit their dentist as least once every six months for a routine cleaning. This may not be a necessity, but it can make a huge difference in your chances of developing a serious problem. Each cleaning gives the dentist an opportunity to inspect your mouth, identify any problems early and keep debris from building up and turning into future problems. Prevention and early detection are always good and can save you a lot of pain, money and time in your general dentist’s chair.
The dentist often doesn’t work alone when caring for your family’s pearly whites. Many hire a handful of other professionals to work with them. Some work within a larger office with other dentists. Others oversee a team of dental hygienists, therapists, assistants and technicians. Each member of the team handles a different area of your dental care. Some dentists may have at least one of each while others may only have one or two depending on the size of the office.
Before a general dentist can begin practicing, he or she must earn either a Doctor of Dental Medicine or a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. Most also complete at least four years of postgraduate study. Many move on to a residency or internship that focuses on the specific area of dental care they wish to specialize in prior to venturing into the industry on their own.
General dentistry is just one of the nine specialties currently recognized by the American Dental Association. The other eight include orthodontics, periodontics, pediatric dentistry, prosthodontics, endodontics, public health dentistry as well as oral and maxillofacial pathology, radiology and surgery. Often times, patients will visit a general dentist to evaluate and diagnose an issue prior to seeing a dental professional in one of the other categories. Your general dentist can provide you with a recommendation if the skills of another professional are needed.