What Does a General Dentist Do?
Have you heard the term “general dentist” and aren't sure what they do? The terms “general dentist” and/or “general dentistry practitioner” are both terms that refer to your basic family dentist. In the United States a general dentist must complete four years of undergraduate training, and four additional years of dental school.
A general dentist is there to provide ongoing, regular support of your oral health. Ideally, you should visit your general dentist every six months for a routine checkup. He/She will complete an oral exam, and diagnose any cavities or problems. Often this will involve the use of an X-ray. Typically a professional cleaning is also performed, followed by a fluoride treatment.
In the event that a cavity or other complications are present, general dentists are qualified to provide corrective treatment. The most common issue is a cavity. If a cavity is caught in it's early stages it can easily be repaired. The decayed area is cleaned out with a drill, and then replaced with a filling of silver, porcelain, gold or composite resin. If the decay has spread too far, general dentists are trained to perform root canals and apply crowns to prevent the total loss of the tooth. If your tooth is too far gone for a crown, the dentist will extract it. And if you have several teeth missing, your general dentist can construct a bridge.
In the event that your condition does require additional treatment, general dentists will be able to refer you to a qualified specialist.
By seeing a general dentist on a regular basis, you have the advantage of working with a care provider who is familiar with your specific needs and history. A dentist that is familiar with you will be able to quickly recognize any changes that may indicate a potential complication. Frequent checkups will help prevent gum disease, and identify cavities before they become toothaches.
If you have children it is imperative that they receive ongoing dental care on a regular basis. Oral health is critical in childhood, and early treatment can prevent big problems further down the road.
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