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General dentists are the main dental care providers to people of all ages. They provide routine checkups, examinations, and cleanings.
Their services are geared toward cleaning, restoration, and disease prevention. Depending on your mouth’s condition, they may refer you to a specialist.
The most common dental care providers are general dentists, who comprise about 80 percent of practitioners. The other 20 percent consists of:
Dentistry is a “hands-on” practice. The profession requires four years of highly accredited education after completing a bachelor’s degree.
This intensive education allows general dentists to gain dexterity, skills in performing tasks with their hands, and in-depth scientific knowledge about the field. General dentists also specialize in specific types of procedures based on their individual skills and the current needs of patients.
Unlike specialists, who focus on one specific area of dentistry, general dentists offer a wide range of treatments and procedures. They also treat patients of all ages.
General dentists offer preventive and restorative services, such as:
Dental specialists, such as endodontists, are highly skilled at performing and treating tooth pain, specifically root canals. Some patients visit a general dentist to receive a root canal, while others may see an endodontist if they require specialized root canal treatment.
Many general dentists use a combination of specialized care, including oral surgery, restorative services, and basic dental care treatments. Common general dentistry treatments include:
You should see a general dentist at least twice a year or every six months. The time between these appointments is just long enough to see any significant changes or if something needs to be restored.
You should also see a general dentist for a cleaning and an examination every 6 months.
When visiting a general dentist, there are many options, whether you are going in for a routine dental exam or a minor oral surgery.
General dentists offer restorative services, preventive treatments, oral surgery, and cosmetic dentistry:
During routine dental exams, your dentist searches for cavities and signs of oral diseases. They will recommend an indirect or direct restoration if you have tooth decay.
Restorative dental procedures are the “bread-and-butter” of general dentistry.
Direct restorations are repairs made inside the mouth (e.g., cavity fillings). These restorations are also usually placed within one office visit:
General dentists also offer indirect restoration procedures (materials made outside the mouth based on an individual’s teeth impressions). However, unlike direct restorations, indirect options require at least two dentist appointments.
The first step is to prepare the teeth by removing decay and preparing them for indirect restoration. Then an impression is made. Lastly, your dentist sends the impressions to a dental laboratory to be created.
During the second visit, the restorations are fitted to the teeth, and any necessary adjustments are made. Patients currently have a few indirect restoration treatments, including:
Cosmetic dentistry is one of the fastest-growing sectors of dentistry.
Many patients electively seek cosmetic procedures. This is because these treatments enhance an individual's smile, which boosts their confidence and improves their appearance.
People of all ages can safely receive cosmetic treatment from a certified dental professional.
Additionally, if you suffer from extreme anxiety about procedures, sedation dentistry is also an option to ensure the process runs smoothly. Since cosmetic treatment is becoming more popular, many general dentists in the U.S. specialize in these procedures.
Treatment options include veneers and professional teeth whitening:
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General dentists offer a wide range of treatments and procedures. They also treat patients of all ages.
These dentists provide a variety of services and treatments to promote oral health, including:
You should see a general dentist regularly to maintain oral health. Ideally, you should see a general dentist twice a year or every 6 months.
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